I’m Just Not Dark Enough

I remember saying those words aloud as my mother applied a thirty-seventh coat of self-tanner to my bare back.

She didn’t disagree.

Tanning bed visits hadn’t toasted me to the right crisp for the ballroom competition that was set to begin early the next morning. Apparently the other girls on my team were absorbing the ultraviolet light more often than I was. Twice each week just wasn’t enough to turn me Latina-esque.

At fifteen I was overly concerned about blending in with the other girls.

At almost thirty (yikes), I’m having the same issue: I’m just not dark enough.

My worry now has nothing to do with the depth of my tan, but the tone of my writing.

I spent a couple of hours last night perusing YA literature on Amazon. Using the “peek inside” button I read several chapters of some of the top sellers. And I came to one conclusion: my personality doesn’t lend itself to the gloom and doom that is popular among teen readers. I sound way more like Polly Anna then I do Elvira.

The question now is: Do I really want to get darker? To get published, am I going to have to depart from my personality, my writing style, my voice?

Personally, I’d take Mary Poppins over the Adams Family any day. But I guess I’m among the minority.


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