Don’t look up, my love, there’s no war here. The girl on the train works with the peace corps and hanging right next to her backpack is bright pink mace.
Close your eyes when you get home, carry your mother’s best knife with you into the shower. Hold it in your shaky palm. Wait for your family to get home, keep it where you can get it, have it pointed in front of you like the prow of a ship. Cleave the air, wait for the moment when out of the closet or under the bed a man will grab you and use your empty house as an invitation, as asking for it.
Lock your car. Check the backseat before getting in. Don’t sit too long in parking lots. Don’t break down on the side of the road. Don’t get in a vehicle with people you don’t know. Don’t stand up straight, don’t hold your head up high. Don’t cry where someone could see.
Have 911 pre-dialed. Carry a pocket knife the way your brother does. He plays with his because he is a boy scout and he might have to use it. Yours is a weight and you are terrified for the day you will have to use it. Don’t panic when men stand too close to you, don’t breathe too deep, don’t look them in the eye - but don’t look weak, don’t look vulnerable, don’t show that you’re scared, but be scared.
Don’t marry him if he’s mean to his mother, if he’s mean to dogs, if he’s mean to waiters. It’s your fault if he is cruel, you should have seen it coming. Don’t kiss him if you’re drunk and not looking to follow up. Don’t give him the wrong idea. Don’t love him, it’s clingy. Don’t spurn him, it’s heartbreaking.
Let him catcall you from the safety of his four-wheel drive, don’t flip him off. Think about the girls that have died on the edge of the road. Let him trail slowly behind you so that the crunch of his tires matches the grind of your teeth. Get inside whatever building you can find. Hope the car doesn’t loop back around and follow you later. Sooner or later, one of the cars is going to loop back around and follow you later.
Don’t call yourself a feminist, you will become sick of explaining that you don’t hate men. Don’t call yourself a feminist, it’s seen as an attack. Don’t call yourself a feminist, you will hear more slurs against your person than if you had said you wanted to kill the president. Don’t call yourself a feminist, it’s dangerous to want something for yourself. Don’t call yourself a feminist. Hold fast to the idea that girls of all shapes and sizes and colors and bodies deserve the same things as everyone else, fight for it quietly - but don’t call yourself a feminist.
Don’t be like other girls, whatever that means. Don’t be one of those plastic girls. Don’t be one of those gamer girls. Don’t be one of those band geeks. Don’t be one of those hipsters. Don’t be one of those fangirls. If you can, don’t be.
Don’t look up. Don’t breathe. Don’t think. Don’t worry, my love, there’s no war here. It’s in some far-off distant country.
I’m attracted to intelligence. Not the book smart type of intelligence. I could care less whether you’ve gone to college or how much money you make because of it. I like intelligent conversations that make me think even hours after it’s ended. I soak up words from radical minds.
“If you are a writer, and you have a novel idea that you are excited about writing, write it. Don’t go on message boards and ask random Internet denizens whether or not something is allowed. … Who is the writer here? YOU ARE. Whose book is it? YOUR BOOK. There are no writing police. No one is going to arrest you if you write a teen vampire novel post Twilight. No one is going to send you off to a desert island to live a wretched life of worm eating and regret because your book includes things that could be seen as cliché.
If you have a book that you want to write, just write the damn thing. Don’t worry about selling it; that comes later. Instead, worry about making your book good. Worry about the best way to order your scenes to create maximum tension, worry about if your character’s actions are actually in character; worry about your grammar. DON’T worry about which of your stylistic choices some potential future editor will use to reject you, and for the love of My Little Ponies don’t worry about trends. Trying to catching a trend is like trying to catch a falling knife—dangerous, foolhardy, and often ending in tears, usually yours.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t pay attention to what’s getting published; keeping an eye on what’s going on in your market is part of being a smart and savvy writer. But remember that every book you see hitting the shelves today was sold over a year ago, maybe two. Even if you do hit a trend, there’s no guarantee the world won’t be totally different by the time that book comes out. The only certainty you have is your own enthusiasm and love for your work. …
If your YA urban fantasy features fairies, vampires, and selkies and you decide halfway through that the vampires are over-complicating the plot, that is an appropriate time to ax the bloodsuckers. If you decide to cut them because you’re worried there are too many vampire books out right now, then you are betraying yourself, your dreams, and your art.
If you’re like pretty much every other author in the world, you became a writer because you had stories you wanted to tell. Those are your stories, and no one can tell them better than you can. So write your stories, and then edit your stories until you have something you can be proud of. Write the stories that excite you, stories you can’t wait to share with the world because they’re just so amazing. If you want to write Murder She Wrote in space with anime-style mecha driven by cats, go for it. Nothing is off limits unless you do it badly.
And if you must obsess over something, obsess over stuff like tension and pacing and creating believable characters. You know, the shit that matters. There are no writing police. This is your story, no one else’s. Tell it like you want to.”—
my little cousin got bit by a house spider and she was crying so i went to get some stuff to soothe and numb it but before i could even walk out the door i heard her quietly whisper ‘i can’t handle the responsibility of being spiderman’