All the Single Ladies

There’s a certain viewpoint that one has to take when dealing with a project as massive as Tiny Life. That viewpoint is forward thinking. Since the entire project plays on itself – that is, the first book contains a lot of “callbacks” to the last book and all the in-between books circle around a few central ideas – I have to really think about what will be happening three or four books ahead whenever I’m writing or rewriting a scene.

Without giving too much away, toward the end of the series, many of the characters will be about the same age I am now. This is bad.

As I grow older, I see my past much differently than how I saw it in previous years. As an 18-year-old, I used to think parents were just there to lend money whenever it was needed; now I know that they’re there to provide space for inevitable mistakes and to point out the best way to not repeat them. As a 22-year-old, I used to think that everyone had an interesting story if you got to know them; now I know that most people are pretty much the same. Basically, in the moment, I don’t see things clearly because I haven’t had the proper amount of time to think about it.

When it comes to the end of the series, there’s no difference. I know how I used to think about women at 8 and 12 and 15 and 20 years old. At 32, I’m not sure. So I can write a Jed relationship story pretty accurately when he’s 8 or 12 or 15 or 20 with a very realistic, deep, and humorous (maybe) point of view. If I had to write a Jed story where he meets a random woman at a bar somewhere, I’m not sure I would be able to write it very well.

It gets even worse when I look at a woman’s point of view. Basically, when it comes to relationships, women are one level above men (and often push us to get to that next level). What I mean is, when I was 8, I didn’t want to have anything to do with girls; at 12 I was interested but shy. Girls were interested, but shy at 8 and they wanted to start having some physical contact at 12. At 15 I wanted some physical contact. I know where I’m at right now (women are nice to look at but not necessarily nice to talk to), but where am I going? Where are women at when they’re 32?

I think I need to interview some friends.

Scratch that. I need to get some friends, and then interview them.

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One Response

  1. That women press for relationship development seems to be true, and you can certainly carry it further–who generally presses the issue of marriage, and then parenting, and then casket-shopping? It’s not always women, but, at least from what I’ve seen on TV, it’s true.

    The only part of that women-before-men business that makes me raise an eyebrow is your depiction of the sexes at age 12. I wonder whether it really is the typical experience of twelve-year-olds that the girls are more interested in amorous interaction than the boys. It could be true, I guess, but I certainly don’t think most of the men I knew were “interested but shy.” They were interested but denied access. Or interested and granted access!

    It’s an empirical question, so it’s not something we can figure out just by thinking about it. I think it’s an interesting question, though, because you’re right that, at least stereotypically, it’s girls leading the march toward heterosexual romantic relationships in every other way. Well, maybe. That’s probably not really true, but it sounds true enough to make the question interesting.

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