Paint Your Day… by Nancy Brophy

If you assigned colors to your emotions what would your day look like? Blues, grays and silvers? Or yellows, reds and oranges? What color would figure predominantly and what would that mean to you? Would black and white be represented by polka dots? Or would a peaceful green cover the backdrop?

We are an emotional group. I try never to release a book that I haven’t cried while writing, figuring if I’m emotional the reader will be touched as well.

How do you think America would be different if we’d been settled by the Chinese rather than the Europeans? Would comfort food include chow mein? Instead of bacon and eggs in the morning would we be eating Congee? (rice portage) I bring this up because I notice that more and more Americans are getting away from the stiff-upper lip of the English. In fact I’ve noticed a definite trend toward over-dramatization.

Even in music I’m seeing an entire sub-genre of angry girl songs. Including Carrie Underwood singing Before He Cheats,

That I dug my key into the side
of his pretty little souped up 4 wheel drive,
carved my name into his leather seats…
I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights,
slashed a hole in all 4 tires…
Maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats. 

Or Miranda Lambert’s, Gunpowder and Lead

I’m goin’ home, gonna load my shotgun
Wait by the door and light a cigarette
He wants a fight well now he’s got one
He ain’t seen me crazy yet

Or her new song, Mama’s Broken Heart

I cut my bangs with some rusty kitchen scissors
I screamed his name til the neighbors called the cops
I numbed the pain at the expense of my liver
I don’t know what I did next all I know, I couldn’t stop

While I’ve used C&W songs as examples, I think it is only a matter of time before we see this trend in writing – predominantly romance writing. Chick Lit was a flash in the pan as was kick-ass bombshell heroines. But both flooded the market and the trend faded as quickly as it appeared.

But trust me when I say a group of young writers will emerge who will write angry-girl romance and a whole new genre will catch fire. I won’t be leading the pack. My heroines are more rational. They battle with a quick wit, rather than physical force, but I am from a softer generation where woman operated by different rules.

While I’m not generally big on drama queen emotions, I also think being too nice and not standing up for yourself is equally problematic.

We write what we know. Young woman today are living in a different world and it will reflect in their stories. Times will change. So will our industry. And Miranda Lambert sums that up best with the lyrics, “this ain’t my mama’s broken heart.”

So true…

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Posted on March 30, 2013, in General and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Change: it’s inevitable! I observe how Niece has dealt with issues, and it’s been interesting to watch her calm down from constant drama to taking charge of her life. Then again, that might be my influence. . .. 🙂

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  2. These are great insights into generational differences. Coming of age in the 60’s I always felt sandwiched between the 50’s ideals of specific women’s roles and deference to men juxtaposed against the new feminism and the belief I could be anything and do anything. Believe me there were, and still are, some angry feminists in the 60s.

    Personally, I am happy to see that both men and women are encouraged to embrace and experience their emotions. I learned early on that keeping them under control was the way to live and that belief impacted my early, very intellectualized writing. It wasn’t until I could let emotions surface that my writing became accessible. Letting them surface in my personal life is something else. I get there more often than before, but I don’t think it will ever be large or consuming. I have way too many years of practice.

    I think that today’s drama, played out in “reality” TV shows is a reflection of the times. I also think, like other generations, this too shall pass. My hope is that there is some middle ground for emotional display and discussion that a future generation will embrace. One where emotions are not kept wrapped tightly and stuffed into corners (like my generation), but also one where they can be seen in a context that is not an all or nothing proposition (like the current generation).

    When high emotional response strikes, there is something to be said for sitting alone, or with a close friend, for some period of time (minutes? hours? days?) before loosing it in public. I think that wait–that patient and full presence with ones emotions–can put a context around it. That context can be much more revelatory and useful than the immediate share-it-with-the-world-so-they-know-exactly-how-I-feel-at-this-moment reaction. At least for me it is.

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  3. Your comment about China is interesting because I just saw a horrible remake of Red Dawn, instead of Russia being the US’s main enemy, it’s now North Korea. Times are a changing….

    Thanks for the lyrics, now I must youtube the songs. 🙂

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  4. I watch the twenty-somethings in my life, my daughter and her friends, and it’s interesting. They definitely expect a different kind of respect from the world than I did at that age…especially from their men. They are demanding and emotional about it. On the one hand I admire that about them. On the other, all that emotion tires me out {grin}.

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