Life Lessons from Geometry and Cookies (or Square Peg Syndrome)

I'm sitting here failing to write a book review. I have many I need to write, but the words just keep failing me. My brain is trapped in one mode: shapes.

Things are "simple" with shapes. Square. Triangle. Circle. Rectangle. Pentagon....What you see is what you get. Count the sides and there's no room for question. A square is a square is a square is a square...no matter the size or color or location.

But when you think about it--really think about it--it does matter. 

If you flip a rectangle over a few degrees, you get a diamond. If you make that loop in the circle a little too long, you get an oval. There are other types of triangles: obtuse, acute, right. I think math-people would say all those are very different things, even if they are essentially the same.

That's the whole point of this post: everyone is different. Every blog, every book, every writer is different. Even if they are essentially the same.

Why am I talking about this? A few reasons. (stick with me)

1) A friend and I were talking about contemporary books all having a similar rhythm and way with words. She said it was a formula that even paranormal books have. I keep trying to agree with that, and can't. Because the words and rhythm of Author A should be different than Author B, even if the stories are similar. Because they are different.

2) I stumbled in a conversation that someone only needed to read one blog--because they were all the same anyway. This, of course, is complete crap. (Sorry, person.) But every blog is different. Sure, they may share meme's and review the same books, but the opinions, ideas and voices of each person are so incredibly different.

3) My real-life community is in a transition (my whole life is it seems); we're going from a dream, a hope, a plan to a reality. And with that there are things that need to happen, roles that need to be filled, a place where everyone needs to fit. It's exciting! I love that it's all happening and I want to dive in and help. But the things they need help aren't things that I enjoy doing or really even want to do whole-heartedly. So, that makes me feel displaced, like a square peg that's trying to fit in a round hole.

I was thinking about ALL that. About how we put ourselves in these boxes. About how we make life this checklist and force all the things around us to fit into it. And it doesn't fit. But we shove anyway. We twist. We pull. We push. We trim. We shape. We want it to fit. And then we wonder why, in the end, we're tired and broken.
Here's why:  a square cannot be a circle.

Well, &%^#! What now? What do we do when we can't be the fill the kind of need that exists? When we can't be the type of blogger who brings in 15 bazillion unique visits in a day? When we aren't the kind of writer that makes words flow and dance and hearts stop beating and tears fall because the lines are so good?

You're right. We quit. We don't try to find a place to fit. We don't create something new. We stop existing and disappear.

I bet that's what Augustine Rodin did he got the idea for The Thinker...laughed and threw away the design because it was too different.

I bet that's what Oatmeal Raisin cookies did when they couldn't be Chocolate Chip--just stopped existing because they weren't good enough.

And when JK Rowling had an idea about a little magical boy named Harry with black hair, a scar and glasses, she completely scrapped that idea because it was too hard and too scary.

Oh wait...they didn't? You mean, The Thinker is one of the most famous sculptures of all time? And people actually eat Oatmeal Raisin cookies? And--what??--JK Rowling is like the twelfth richest woman and one of the most influential women in Britain?

Fine. But what does all this have to do with shapes and blogging and writing--I'm so confused?!

It has to do with this: BE YOURSELF.

We're taught that in elementary school, but somewhere along the way we forget. We become so obsessed with fitting into the mold, we forget that we are supposed to be different! We are different. Every person has something about them that's unlike anyone else, even if sometimes it seems essentially the same. No two people are alike. And you know that saying, "Opinions are like noses. Everyone has one." And they are all uniquely different.

So what if I can't find a place to serve and help that's exactly what I want to do. I can find something else! I can say hello to people and celebrate that a dream is becoming a reality. I can watch and wait and find a way to serve that fits me when it comes up. Me. A job no one else may see as a need until later. I matter there. 

So what if your blog only has 200 followers--that's awesome! Remember when it was you and your best friend and some random kid who entered a contest? You've come far! And no one comments on your reviews? Oh well. The four people that are reading them are listening to you. And that post you wrote last week, yea...that really affected someone. Remember that email? Don't doubt your blog because it's your voice. Yours.

SO WHAT if the words in your novel don't make you want to cry at every line. Who wants to cry at every line? Just write the book! Just tell the story. Let it suck...and then fix it. And take criticism. And then fix it. And fix it some more. And make the words flow. EVEN IF it doesn't sound like author A & B. I'd say that's good! I don't want all my books to sound the same. I don't all my characters to have a dead mother or a dead sister or a crazy boyfriend. I want different. That crazy aunt who talks to the flowers in her closet--I'd read that. Write it. Find your voice---YOURS. Not JK Rowling's. Not Cassie Clare's. Not Rachel Hawkins' or James Patterson's or your crit partner's. YOURS.

No one else can tell your story or fill your role. Only you. And if you don't do it--if you don't step up and be yourself and take a chance--then no one else will do it for you.

Not me because I can barely do it for myself.

Not that girl who doesn't know there's an entire world of blogs out there and she's missing out.

Not that agent who's waiting for a story just like yours.

Only you.

Everything has a place it belongs. And eventually, even the square finds a place to fit.


  1. What a great post! (I liked the pictures along the way too). Good job:) -> I'm def gonna pass this along.

  2. I love this post, D. Wonderfully said!

  3. This is seriously the BEST blog post I have read in a long time. I loved it!

  4. THANKS girls! :) I'm really glad you liked it.


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