I've been fairly quiet the last few weeks, across my fleet of blogs. I mean, more quiet, because there's no denying I'm no longer posting near as much as I did in years past, for a variety of reasons. But recently it's because I've moved again, and taken on an awesome new responsibility.
A little over a year ago, Burrito was born. Obviously, that's not her real name. Anyway, Burrito is my sister's daughter, the sister I've lived with and/or near for most of the past decade. Starting last October, we renewed the tradition when she went down to Florida for some training, so someone would be available to watch Burrito, and then we all went back to Virginia. When we left Colorado, I saw Virginia for the first time, a fleeting glimpse, really, before heading back up to Maine so I could help make my mother comfortable in the little over a year she had left from a hellacious battle with cancer. So I got to spend ten months in Virginia, get a sense of how my sister was living while I was away, and watch Burrito grow.
Now I'm a full-time caretaker of Burrito, since my sister has shipped out overseas, and couldn't take her daughter along. I consider this a huge privilege. I'm one of those people who never imagined they'd have such an awesome responsibility. I've watched two nephews grow into early boyhood in Maine, but it's different seeing (nearly) the whole process firsthand. I've seen a lot of behavior George Lucas stole for Star Wars (Luke Skywalker's reactions in The Empire Strikes Back, for example).
Anyway, that's just a little peek behind the curtain. I'm don't tend to get too personal in my blogging. You may be wondering why I'm talking about this on a writers blog. The last month, I slogged through Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, which I picked up earlier this year at an airport, fully expecting it to be a magical experience. If I had extremely limited literary experience, it would have been. It was anything but. I have no idea why a major publisher would have touted this as a viable adult read. It was about as good as a young adult book would be. In my Goodreads review, I called it Suzanne Collins' version of Lost, which was still being generous, because Collins would've included a nonsensical third act, like in Marvel movies.
What I decided about Morgenstern is that she embodies what has become an unfortunate trend in books, and perhaps the culture in general: personality before talent. As far as I can tell, it used to be that you had to have talent before anyone cared what kind of personality was behind it. But now you're supposed to have the personality, which kind of ends up overriding the talent. Talent is meaningless and unnecessary in this equation. It's a nightmare!
I'll now mention the other family member I'll be watching for my sister: Boo. Boo is a white furball of a cat, whom I've known since 2004. My decade+ tagalong with my sister has included many great experiences with Boo, who single-handedly (paw-edly?) made me into a cat person. But as anyone knows, cats aren't dogs. They don't just, usually, let you get close to them. I wish we treated writers like cats treat humans. You have to get to know their work before a relationship is possible.
Before Burrito, there was a lot of things I didn't understand about babies, and I think it benefited my relationship with her. That's what I'm talking about. Be more like Boo, be more like Burrito. Be less like Erin Morgenstern.