Ice cream, waiting, and Taylor Swift
But not in that order! Your April 9 missive from Karis :)
I’m getting ice cream today 🍦
It’s such a rare occasion when I leave the house, and in the next hour my roommate and I are going to walk to my favorite ice cream window. They’re only open from April through Thanksgiving, and I haven’t been since before my Italy trip, and I’m so excited to walk in the sun and eat ice cream!
One of my goals for this spring into the summer is to get better about leaving the house. I want to start actually waking up on time and going for an early-morning walk. I used to do that and take photos of the buildings I passed, and I miss both getting outside and taking pretty photos. Time to romanticize my life, baby! In other updates, here’s what you can expect from today’s newsletter:
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From the heart: Celebrity Culture Thoughts™️
From the shelf: a book I read & loved recently
From the page: on the waiting game in publishing
As ever, feel free to leave a comment, share with a friend, or like this post. You can also reply to the email — so many ways to chat!
From the heart 💗
Listen. I’m the first to admit I have multiple parasocial relationshipswith people who don’t even know I exist. I lean more toward stan than fan. I find people whose work I love — whether they’re artists, writers, musicians, or actors — and I go all-in. I have celebrity crushes that are embarrassing because the truth is I imagine some day I’ll actually meet these crushes and they’ll fall for me.
This is my caveat to say I am not the healthiest when it comes to celebrity culture. In fact, my next YA is literally a romance about a regular girl (ish) who falls in love with a celebrity…because that’s the life I dreamed of as a teenager. So, like, when I tell you that sometimes I think we as a culture have taken things too far, know that I’m speaking to myself first.
Last night, Entertainment Tonight told us that Taylor Swift and longtime boyfriend Joe Alwyn had broken up. Immediately it seemed like every swiftie I follow was tweeting about it; other tabloids and legit news sources were picking up the story; everyone had an opinion.
And all I could think was — if it’s true, if they did break up several weeks ago and she’s been going out on stage 3-4 times a week and performing her heart out, then holy shit, she’s a stronger woman than I. And then I thought, you know…poor thing.
And then I immediately thought of “Lavender Haze.” I don’t know, y’all. I know she’s more successful and wealthy than I will ever dream of, working with privilege from nearly every facet of her identity, but sometimes I feel bad for her. Because she has no privacy, no peace.
Most days I wish I were at Taylor Swift’s level. Then news like this breaks, and I’m reminded that celebrities are people, too. They have heartbreaks, they get rejections, they feel bloated after a big meal, just like me. Except they’re living under a microscope, and I’m free to go five days without washing my hair with no one the wiser.
I think I’d be a terrible celebrity. Because I’m bad at self-care, bad at leaving my house, bad at consistently updating my social media because sometimes I’m just too damn depressed. And that’s its own kind of privilege, I think — the privilege of anonymity.
From the shelf 📚
Last weekend, I devoured Malinda Lo’s A Scatter of Light in about 24 hours. Even more impressive than the speed with which I read the book is the way in which it’s lasted with me for the past week. When I finished it, I felt a little unsettled, a little unsatisfied. Over the past week, the story has sunk into my mind like a tattoo into skin, and now I’m just blown away by Lo’s brilliance.
A Scatter of Light follows Aria, a biracial Asian American 18-year-old who gets sent off to California to spend the summer with her famous artist grandmother before going to college. There she meets a girl, and for the rest of the story, you’ll have to read the book — trust me, it’s delicious. Delicious as in the writing is absolutely scrumptious. Lo is a true weaver of words, and the pictures she paints? Glorious. I was hooked.
But she’s also an incredible storyteller, and one thing that stood out to me was how messy the characters were. They were so human in their mess. They made decisions, sometimes good and sometimes bad, and those decisions had far-reaching effects, and all in all it didn’t feel like reading a story about characters, it felt like sinking into someone else’s reality. I’m gonna be trying to write like that for the rest of my life, I fear.
From the page ✍️
I’m currently waiting for my advisor to get back to me with feedback on my schoolwork. That wouldn’t be so bad, except I’m also waiting to hear back from a few agents who have my full manuscript, as well as from all the agents who have my query. Meanwhile, I’m waiting to hear back about some awards I’ve applied for, and also a fellowship I put my name up for, and —
I’m waiting, is the thing. And if you’re a writer, my guess is you, too, have experience with the waiting game of publishing.
If I’ve heared it once, I’ve heard it ad nauseum, but so much of publishing is about waiting. It’s true in journalism, too, and in fact my first journalistic mentor told me it was all about “hurry up and wait,” and that’s so true for book publishing, too. Hurry up and write your draft, then wait for beta readers to send feedback. Hurry up and revise so you can query or send it to your agent or editor, then wait for them to get back to you. Hurry up and send off that full request, then wait for them to read it. Hurry up and submit your book to an open call at a publisher, then wait…you get the picture.
There’s a lot of waiting in writing, and it’s exhausting. It can be mind-numbing and make you feel like you’re losing your grip on sanity, at times: I’ve refreshed my email so many times I literally think I’m going to throw up if I open it once more to no new emails. I’m sick of waiting.
But I have to get used to it; it’s part of the writing game. So, to keep myself from going nuts looking at my various email accounts, I do the same thing I do when I feel myself falling into a depression: I distract myself.
I’ve got a laundry list of TV shows to watch; books to read; naps to take; and writing projects to tackle, not to mention needing to clean my room and cook meals and go be social and — wait, why was I waiting around, anyway? I’ve got a life to live!
Sometimes just remembering how much I have to live for is a great perspective shift. Cause yeah, I haven’t gotten that life-changing email of my dreams (yet), but I have other things to do. Friends to enjoy. A cat to cuddle with. The waiting place is exhausting, but it’s also good. I guess I’ll settle in, make some tea, and relax — until the next time I have to hurry up and wait, that is :)
A parasocial relationship is a one-sided relationship formed when one party extends energy, interest, and time and the other person doesn’t know they exist, according to the National Register of Health Services Psychologists. (From here)
Don’t get me wrong, if someone offered me fame and fortune I would GLADLY ACCEPT.
Great edition, thanks!!! Sigh ... waiting is really difficult, especially waiting for what feels like a "game-changing" decision. I'm in waiting mode too. Maybe for news from the same entity! How wild is that? It just makes me think about the nature of time ... and my relationship to it. Two steps forward: I no longer spend as much time on out-and-out worry. But one step back: I have not mastered the not-waiting-wait. Hang in there. All will be revealed soon (hopefully). Good luck Karis!