In December, my nine year old daughter told me that she no longer likes the colour pink. The word 'hate' was even used.
"So what colours do you like then?" I asked, trying to calculate how much money I'd need to spend to replace the majority of her clothes and bedding.
"I don't mind," she said. "Just not pink or purple."
When it came to buying her a new school coat, I was faced with a dilemma. Without spending a fortune on a coat that would be dragged around and probably stood on numerous times each day, I was left with a smaller selection of shops to choose a waterproof, hooded, warm winter coat from. The only stipulation I had from my daughter was "not pink" but that is just what I found in the shops for her age group. Pink coats, pink and black, pink and grey, pink love hearts, pink roses, anything pink you could ever imagine and more. In the last shop I visited, I finally found a plain black coat which she thankfully gave her seal of approval to.
The message this seems to imply is that only those who can afford expensive clothes are allowed to be individuals. The rest of us are expected to tow the line. Isn't that wrong? What happened to valuing the differences in us? Not all little girls like pink. Not all little boys give up cuddly toys when they reach seven. Not all writers want to fit into a specific genre.
I've been taking a fresh look at my work in progress and the more I poke at it, the more it refuses to settle in a specific genre. I have robots and yet it's not a sci fi novel because my story also features magic. Fantasy appears to fit and yet there's also an element of romance involved. I have comical figures but there is a serious message in the social situation my characters find themselves in too. The popular genres and topics (murder mystery, vampires and werewolves, chick lit) don't really apply. I find myself with a literary beastie that refuses to sit on a labelled shelf and how does this make me feel? Disappointed? Disillusioned? Defeated?
No. What I actually feel is justified. My work in progress has it's own quirks, it's own mish mash of traits, and I love it. My beastie and I are individuals which is just the way it should be.
Eyes blinking through the water, frog leaps above the blushing lilies, green hide brighter than them all.