It’s always such a thrill and inspiration to be a part of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators organization, and to attend their annual conferences. Here’s some of my favorite quotes from this weekends Summer Conference in Los Angeles
In this day and age, we are taught to dream the impossible dream, to reach for the stars and be whoever we want to be. But there is also a need to discover and stay true to your roots. So what happens when the two desires collide?
Maybe it’s an immigrant thing. (I was born in a Third World country.) Maybe it’s a generational thing. (My ever present Peter Pan syndrome.) I don’t know. But it seems like many of my friends are feeling a divide. There are certain expectations that need to be met: marriage, career, children, stability. Sounds simple right?
“We brought you here for better opportunities.” This is something I’ve heard over and over again growing up. Well, I’m grown now, and I choose to be a writer. My parents suggest every day that I go to Nursing School instead. I can do it. I possess the intelligence and skills, but not the passion. They cannot understand why I would want to be an out-of-work, underpaid writer instead. They don’t know what an artist is. They wanted opportunities for me. They wanted me to be able to dream. But they could not fathom what that truly meant. Because now MY dream does not match theirs.
At least you have family right? Well, part of that same parental or maybe cultural expectation is that I marry and produce offspring. Well, I’m over thirty and just have not. And now I get the look. It’s not wonder or even disappointment. It’s downright sorrow. My family feels genuinely sorry for me. And that hurts like shit. I must not be happy if I am unmarried right? Yes of course I want a family. I want to be a mother. And yes I can hear my own clock ticking. But what if it never happens? I tell myself I can be happy with that. But culturally I’ve already failed.
No I do not have a “real” job. Most of my money comes from freelance, and things I create on my own. And again come the worry faces. What will happen when my father passes? Well, I guess I will do as I always have and take care of myself.
It’s not a lack of support. It’s not a lack of love. And it’s not a lack of opportunities. Everyone means well. But our generation is getting pulled apart. What we were born into, and what we choose to be. What would you expect?
I love my family. I love my cultural roots. I love my dreams. And yes I worry. I feel it more and more because the worry is heightened by the very people who brought me hope. So here it is.
Everyone, no matter who they are and where they came from, will face other people’s expectations. Fuck it! Listen and take heed. But remember this: You alone are responsible for your happiness. The pursuit of it will always be rocky. But you deserve your dreams! So keep going. Win or lose, try and fail, stumble and fall, dream a new dream. Expect expectations, then hold your head up high and know you are meeting YOUR expectations and it is your life you are proud to live.
So live it…divided if you have to. Find the balance between the roots that gave you hope and the branches of you reaching for the stars. Find strength in both. Everything matters. You’re worth it all!
The nature of bubbles is that some asset is absurdly overvalued until — eventually — the bubble bursts, and we’re left scratching our heads wondering why we were so irrationally exuberant in the first place. The asset we’re overvaluing now is the notion of doing it all, having it all, achieving it all; what Jim Collins calls “the undisciplined pursuit of more.” This bubble is being enabled by an unholy alliance between three powerful trends: smart phones, social media, and extreme consumerism. The result is not just information overload, but opinion overload. We are more aware than at any time in history of what everyone else is doing and, therefore, what we “should” be doing. In the process, we have been sold a bill of goods: that success means being supermen and superwomen who can get it all done. Of course, we back-door-brag about being busy: it’s code for being successful and important.