Last week, I spent a lot of time on Facebook talking about my book, Cowgirl Cat. However, I know that many of you might not follow me on my Facebook page so you are not watching my daily live stream videos.
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Clearly, this book is not Amish. Many of my regular readers might wonder why I wrote this book which, clearly, strays from my regular Amish novels.
Let me start off by saying this: I love writing about the Amish and will continue to do so. However, as a creative thinker, I like to challenge myself. I am interested in so many things that I simply cannot limit myself to just one genre.
I began writing this novel two years ago while in the midst of breast cancer treatment. My family was in turmoil…my daughter and son in particular. Cat was extremely sad and depressed. Without doubt, she is a mini-me. We are best friends and share everything. So, at twelve years of age, it is understandable that she was scared. I tried to cheer her up and took her on a few fangirling trips…to Freehold, NJ, Miami, FL, New York, NY, and even Los Angeles, CA. She liked social media “guys” at the time and the idea for the book originally focused on that. Over time, however, it changed to incorporate her love for horses as well as talented young people who train horses. As Cat said in my live stream video on November 12th, it was a much better fit.
Writing from Cat’s voice was easy for me. In fact, I think I can write “her” better than she can actually live her. It was fun, light, and enjoyable. But there was something much more about the book that made me persevere to finish it, despite conflicts about the story, characters, and other issues that crept up.
You see, young girls today struggle with so many conflicts when it comes to expectations from society and family. In some cases, society tells them to behave in a certain way and believe in certain things while their families direct them in a different way. Can you imagine how hard it is to grow up with your peers telling you to dress or behave a certain way, to support certain beliefs and ideals just because everyone else does? Half of the time, these young people don’t really understand what they are saying or believing in!
When parents try to instill different values in the lives of their children, daughters in particular, this can create a huge conflict. Some young girls will fight their parents while others will fight society. It’s the latter who do so at their own peril. When people are determined to march to the beat of their own drum…to stand by their own convictions and beliefs that differ from their peer group…something terrible tends to happen: bullying.
OK, maybe I’m simplifying the situation, but bullying is a real problem. And it’s not just children doing it. It’s also adults.
Think about it. There’s a lot of pressure on children to be the best. And it’s not just ‘be the best at something’ but ‘be the best at everything.’ And when they are not the best at something, many parents will either belittle the child or complain to whoever is in charge, be it the teacher, coach, etc. It’s the mentality of “If you have it, I want it, and then I don’t want you to have it.” Think of the star-belly Sneetches from Dr. Seuss. If you have no idea what I’m referencing, here’s a link to the video.
No wonder so many young people rebelled about the election results!! Most of them were never taught how to lose graciously. Instead, they were taught that you always win, even if it’s at the expense of others.
But not everyone can be a winner all the time.
Cowgirl Cat explores some of these issues. It’s a humorous book, not too heavy. But it dives into the issues of self-esteem in the wake of bullying, especially over social media. It examines the way so many people place an emphasis on earthly success and, in the process, lose sight of what got them there in the first place. It’s a reminder about humility, staying true to yourself, and persistence, even when faced with the impossible. This is not a book just for young teenagers and girls. It’s a book for their mothers, too. It’s a chance to read together and discuss the underlying themes in what is, otherwise, an enjoyable, funny book about a thirteen-year-old with a big dream and a lot of tenacity.