By Cathy Perkins
road with trees and kids and people who mostly observed the speed limit. For
the longest time, when I drove in and out of our neighborhood, I’d see a
teenaged boy practicing skateboard tricks—or rather the same trick—over and
move. It didn’t happen overnight. It was a gradual process. Instead of succeeding
once in a hundred times, it would be one in ten, and then finally, most of the time, he’d jump and spin and pick up his board. Smile.
never do that.
Repeated failure. Where everyone could see them mess up and sprawl all over the
pavement or the lawn and look like a dork.
brought it crashing back.
Amanda Todd, following severe harassment after Todd’s decision to ‘sext’ a man
who, it turns out, may have been a predator. Allegedly, this man tried to
blackmail her and released the pictures to her classmates and life took a
horrible turn for Ms. Todd. More horribly, she didn’t see a way out.
out as a warning to girls about the danger of stepping ‘out of line’ with
anything sexual, another ridiculous blame the victim measure. While the article initially
focused on sexuality, what is most concerning to me is the way the ‘messing up
your life’ message demands perfection from young—and not so young—women, while
at the same time forbidding them to experiment or risk failure. As I told
Nicole in our Facebook exchange, this is the broader message for me:
focusing on giving them what we’ve given their brothers for decades: the chance
to see failure –- and even humiliation -– as an opportunity rather than as a
demand for instant perfection, on creativity. Whatever the media—visual through
paint, photography, glass, fiber; performance in dance or theater; or the
written word—taking a chance, risking failure if you will, is inherent in
creative works. As much as we try to say, “writing is a business” or “once we
finish, it’s a product,” the end result of our creative endeavor is still a
piece of our soul.
have to be “perfect” before we attempt…anything, what does that say about us as
a society? If we all have to fall in line and not push creative boundaries,
there won’t be urban fantasies or paranormal entities or mysteries that make us
think, not just about who did the crime, but what led those characters to make
those decisions or any of the other layers we authors craft into our stories to
make us think outside the expected. Outside the safe.
everything is the same. Where people are afraid to take risks. Are afraid to
challenge their deepest fears and embrace their highest dreams.
zone and offers a piece of their vision. A piece of their heart.
PS – I have a Book releasing in June, Calling for the Money. The original inspiration for it was a different news article about the suicide of a lonely veteran caught in a sexting scheme. The internet is a useful tool, but the anonymous predators deserve a special place in hell.
Sign up for her new release announcement newsletter in either place.
She’s hard at work on sequel to The Body in the Beaver Pond, which was recently presented with the Claymore Award.