You Are More Than The Things That Have Happened To You

best writers Carrie Jones

So, a long time ago, I was driving the very unhappy cat Lyra to the kitty spa so that she could not be one massive, walking clump of kitty fur, I was listening to the radio and Bob and Sheri, these syndicated talk-show people.

They were talking about what your purpose is in life.

This made Lyra howl even louder, because a ‘life purpose’ talk is pretty heavy stuff for a cat at 7:55 a.m. especially when you’re in a kitty carrier.

Lyra’s Ghost: That is not while I was howling. I was howling because I was in a small, dark place; the radio was on much too loud and existential questions are dull. Your purpose in life was to feed me, that was all.

And Sheri said that her purpose in life is to make people realize that they are more than the things that have happened to them.

You Are More Than The Things That Have Happened To You.

This was way too big a wow moment for me at 7:55 a.m.

This was a big wow moment for two reasons:

1. My old book GIRL, HERO is all about this. It’s all about Liliana defining herself and taking control of who she is instead of having the horrible things that have happened to her define her. Yeah, she figures this out while writing letters to John Wayne, a dead movie star with some major issues of his own, but whatever.

2. I think that making people realize that they are more than the events in their life is really the purpose of all writing even when we (the writers) don’t realize it. 

I mean, isn’t it?

On that ancient tv show Lost, the people stranded on the island realize that they are more than survivors of a plane crash. One by one, they face demons, encounter fate and destiny, make choices that determine who their character is.

Lost Cast: Our purpose is to look sexy while running from smoke monsters and falling out of helicopters and being shot and being locked in cages meant for panda bears and standing fully dressed in water. Isn’t yours? 

Or even on, um…. The Princess Diaries. Do you all remember The Princess Diaries?

Isn’t Mia more than someone who drives a convertible in the rain and gets really wet, and totally messes up the car’s interior and everything? Isn’t she more than someone who stinks at math? Isn’t she more than someone who learns how to shoot an arrow while a really cute boy watches?

Anyway…. Yes. She is. She is more than just the events that happen to her. She is more than the bad things. She is more than the good things. 

I think we all are. Aren’t we?

I hope so, because I’d like to think that I’m not defined just by that one time my skirt fell down when I was getting out of a taxi in New York. Or that time the man in the grocery store parking lot gave me the finger. Or that time…. You get the picture, right?

And when we write stories, we want our characters to be so full and rich that they sing off the page, so we can feel them.

Lyra’s Ghost: Carrie, sometimes I am so embarrassed that you are my human. But I still love you and haunt you from the kitty grave.

Yes, she really does. Haunt me. I’m not sure about the love part. 🙂


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Author: carriejonesbooks

I am the NYT and internationally-bestselling author of children's books, which include the NEED series, FLYING series, TIME STOPPERS series, DEAR BULLY and other books. I like hedgehogs and puppies and warm places. I have none of these things in my life.

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