More specifically my life is like my YA novel. Does that really surprise you? Aren’t we all just writing about ourselves under a thinly veiled guise of creative inspiration? You can’t tell me that J.K. Rowlings isn’t half witch the way she makes money appear.
So, back to my point, in my YA novel, my main character Emma moves to Pakistan. It’s a radical change from her former home in the Philippines. In the past three months I have moved to SocialMediaLand. It’s a radical change from my former home, which was my former home – four walls, a roof, familiar faces, you get the drift.
In the Philippines, Emma has lots of friends, fun activities, the freedom to go where she wants, and a warm and hospitable culture. In Pakistan no one knows her, though a few kind girls try to help her fit in. The culture itself is at times hostile, even threatening, and her freedom of movement is severely curtailed.
This is totally me!
In my own home, I’m very popular. My husband likes me, my kids like me, my 3lb. Yorkie thinks I’m the best thing since sliced chicken. And I am competent and have enormous freedom. I know how to operate all the machinery, the dishwasher, the coffee maker. I can even hop in the car and go exactly where I want, when I want.
In SocialMedialand I’m very unpopular. I’m not joking! I am wildly, demonstrably, and honestly kind of amusingly unpopular. Do you want proof? There are 166 YA books listed on Goodreads as coming out in 2013. My book, AN INFIDEL IN PARADISE, is the 166th on the list of books people want to read. So among the thousands of Goodread readers, I am the last person anyone wants to meet. If that’s not a hostile environment, I don’t know what is. If I showed up at Goodreads High School, I would definitely be eating alone in the lunch room.
Another incontrovertible parallel, and the main reason I’ve been so reluctant to move to SocialMediaLand, is I that don’t know how to operate anything and it takes me forever to get anywhere, if I get there at all. My blog for example http://www.sjlaidlaw.com/blog/ has no pictures, not because I have no pictures but because I can’t figure out how to upload them. I didn’t even have a website for the longest time because just the thought of creating and navigating one put me into a cold sweat. I tried and failed to create an author’s page on Goodreads, though in light of my recent rating over there, this example is looking a lot less random. In any case, this is just the tip of the iceberg, believe me.
But, like Emma, I have not been totally abandoned in SocialMediaWasteLand. On the first day of school Emma is befriended by a group of girls who do their best to help her fit in. Gradually, she makes more friends and amid the hostility of those who don’t really know her, she discovers a home with the few who take the time to. My MiG partners are my first-day-of-school girls. They’ve been with me almost since the beginning of my writing journey and do their best to explain the rules of SocialMediaLand, though I still maintain the rules defy explanation. Gradually, I’m making more friends in SocialMediaLand – shout out to @TheLucky13s and of course the talented, supportive team at @TundraBooks