I have been working on writing a query letter to send out to literary agents this week. One of the hardest part for me is categorizing my novel. I realized this is not as easy to do as I once thought. This process made think about categories in a broader sense.
Humans love labels. They are one of the first things we are taught. We learn from an early age that some things are letters, some things are numbers and some things are shapes or colours. Babies learn that mom might be the shorter one with the yellow hair who smells of baby powder or dad is the taller one with the brown hair who makes them laugh. Many babies cry when a parent alters their appearance by changing their hair colour or getting a drastic hair cut. They do not fit the category they had been memorized as and it takes time for the baby to recategorize them. Children learn more categories as they go to school and continually expand on those categories as they age and gain experience.
High school is the stage where I remember the most labels being put on me and where people were frequently categorized. In my school we had the jocks, the preps, the nerds, the stoners, the greasers… I could go on and on listing the categories kids were put in. In my mind I did not fit any of these categories and in fact had friends from almost every category you could imagine but in reality I am sure many people put me into a category too. Perhaps it was harder for them to do it because of my wide range of activities and friends and perhaps I would not agree with their label but I am sure it was done.
Once people leave high school they often feel as though it is their chance to make their own way in the world, define themselves and finally shake off those labels. The problem is that as soon as they move into a new circle of people they are categorized again.
Although I think it is impossible to live completely uncategorized, I am fascinated by the rare people of the world that manage to go against their category whether intentionally or by chance. The one hundred year old man that was mugged in the street and fought off his attackers doesn’t fit with the norm. He still holds down a job but looks like he is just an average senior citizen. I watch a video of a toddler reciting the periodic table by heart once. How many adults can do that?
When posting a blog post I even have the option to create a category or go with uncategorized. I usually do the former but just for today I think it is more appropriate to go with uncategorized.
On another note, I was nominated for another blog award by Rewan Tremethick who is also known as The Hyperteller. If you have not had the chance to get acquainted with him yet you should go pay his blog a visit. His posts are often enjoyable to read and thought provoking.
Part of this award involves telling you seven more things about me than you probably wanted to know but since I am trying to live more uncategorized, I will share with you some of the more unusual things about me.
1- I have an ever growing collection of socks with pictures, patterns or characters on them. My feet have not grown since I was about twelve and because I rarely wear socks most of them are like new. My oldest pair is at least fifteen years old.
2- My childhood dog was called Beachball because when we went to the pound to pick him out he jumped up and down when he saw me. I named him in the car on the way home and everyone tried to get me to change his name but I wouldn’t.
3- I left high school a year early to go to college. My high school major was art. I originally attended college for art therapy, changed to nursing and finally changed to education.
4- When I was three I asked my mother for some toy soldiers but not American soldiers. I wanted ones that looked like Grenadier Guards because I told her one day I would move to England. I adore the memory of waking up on Christmas morning to find them. I still have one soldier left.
5- I have always refused to eat any food that once lived in water. I am mainly vegetarian anyway but have never liked the look of fish and seafood. Last year I found out the hard way that prawns will kill me.
6- My mother was told that I could be triplets when she was expecting me. She picked out the names Billie Jo, Bobby Jo and Betty Jo from an old American show called Petticoat Junction. There was only me so I was named after my uncle who was only twelve when I was born. He was so excited that he was going to be an uncle and he was pretty sure I was going to be a boy so he bought me a baseball before I was even born. They told him I was named after him before they mentioned I was a girl to soften the blow a little.
7- My wardrobe consists of anything from 40s style tea dresses, bold 70s patterns to business suits. I have a quirky taste in clothing and love to reinvent the way I look depending on my mood and the places I am going.
So here are my seven nominees to pass on this award: