The other day, I wrote a post about ten books that I read before I was twelve that have stuck with me. I cannot even believe that I forgot to include Harriet the Spy. Seriously. How could I have forgotten about the girl who wrote all of her honest observations in a notebook and then experienced her life imploding when her classmates discovered it? Oh, it was painful. And she only barely started putting it back together at the end of the story.
When I was a teenager I discovered Danielle Steele romance novels. According to her formula, the protagonists are always beautiful, demure women whose lives are tragically imploding when we meet them in the opening pages. And they always wear cashmere sweaters and woolen trousers and strings of pearls. Demurely. And beautifully. After their lives implode, they build walls to keep people out. But there are handsome, good-hearted men who are drawn to them despite their walls. Eventually, patiently and gently, they break through and give the women the hope and joy and love they'd lost.
I couldn't imagine being a Danielle Steele protagonist. I couldn't imagine that if I built a wall, someone would even see me behind it, never mind tear it down to get me. So instead I was an open book. But I had also learned an important lesson from Harriet. You can't write down everything you think on the pages.