FROM NOW ON 14 - grit and glitter

by Susan Weber

It’s a formula, by a writer who claims to be bad at math. Meg Cabot has a personal pledge to write five pages by five o'clock every afternoon or she has to send five dollars to her least-favorite politician. She calls it 5 by 5 or 5. The mere thought of her name appearing on a deadbeat’s donor list has fueled the creation of twenty five million books devoured worldwide by tweens and teens and adult fans of her princess romance chick lit.

I’ve not read a Meg Cabot novel but I will soon know where to start. As tiara crowned acolytes flood the auditorium, a rosy cheeked, sparkle nailed, polka dot camisoled princess sitting to my right begins my education. I'm to read the dozen plus Princess Diaries for backstory. I should definitely check out The Airhead Trilogy, the Heather Wells series (Size 12 is Not Fat, a standout), and Queen of Babble which I'm told debuted on the New York Times bestseller list. I can’t go wrong with… shhh… she’s arrived on stage.

When the author starts her talk she draws adoring giggles from the hall. She plays the ditsy airhead who was enchanted by Princess Leia as a kid and did not let multiple early rejections stand in the way of her writing. I feel out of place here, as one unschooled in the froufrou arts. In all this razzle dazzle, where’s the STEM sensibility, the Wonder Woman power lap, the we’ve-come-a-long-way-baby slam dunk?

It hits me like a bulldozer churning up cosmic dust. Meg Cabot’s grit and glitter captivates the little girl’s innocence, the big girl’s dreams, the busy woman’s love of the heart gone wild. Her formula is simple, really. You are the equation, however crazy-out-there, that no one gets to calculate but you.

Photo by Romina Campos CC BY 2.0