If I ever write a love story -- which is to say, if I ever write a novel where the central plot hinges on the relationship between two people -- I'll build it around the premise that what you love most about a person will ultimately drive you insane.
Is your boyfriend spontaneous? Delightful! His flakiness will make you bonkers. Is your girlfriend a responsible adult? Finally, for once! Her uncompromising nature will sound your death knell. It's not something your partner keeps hidden from you; it's a matter of character, emphasis, and time.
Back in 2013, when I was shopping around Froelich's Ladder, I kept getting the same complaint from literary agents: it's too whimsical. Now, that was true: I wrote a whimsical novel based on a whimsical premise -- that of an impossibly tall ladder. But what these agents meant to say was I'd strayed too far from reality. They wanted a novel that represented reality with all the verve of a card trick. Is it the four of spades? It is? Great, give it back. Instead, my book gushed, OOH, MAGIC!
Ironically, my publisher connected with this sense of whimsy. She touted it. And as the term was gradually scrubbed of its negative implication, blurbers and reviewers began to echo her. "What a whimsical novel!" they congratulated me. "However did you manage to capture that sense of whimsy?" It was very confusing, like being praised for flaking and/or refusing to compromise. Which, hey, actually summarizes my experience! Weird.
The character of Froelich's Ladder remained unchanged -- it was only a matter of emphasis and time. Which makes this anecdote the best kind of love story, the kind that trends from alienation to harmony. Lucky me.
This is a repository for JY's original content that's yet to be bound in a book -- essays, short fiction, etc. There's little rhyme or reason, so jump in!