Resolution: Have More Grit
I just saw True Grit starring Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges and Josh Brolin. It was fantastic.
But it made me realize how lacking I am in grit. Could you, like Mattie Ross (played by the amazing 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld, the true star of the movie), endure hangings, gunfights, stabbings, having to sleep next to numerous dead bodies, snakes, near drowning, getting spanked by Matt Damon, and being forced to camp outdoors in inclement weather just to avenge the murder of your father?
If my dad were murdered and I had to go through all of the things above in order to see justice served, there is a high likelihood I might just say, “Sorry, Dad. Avenging your death is way too much work. That new show Heavy about all the people battling obesity is on. Want to watch it with me from Heaven? Okay, cool.”
But not Mattie Ross.
That is why this New Years, I’m setting some goals for myself. Because I really need to get some grit, and live more like the fictional characters I admire. I mean, I really love Mattie Ross and Princess Leia and Rapunzel from Tangled, but the truth is, when faced with an actual real life problem like, for instance, my alarm clock, I tend to just roll over and fall back asleep.
Mattie Ross would never do this! She’d get right up and get to business. Rapunzel would jump out of bed singing. Princess Leia would shoot her alarm clock with a laser blaster.
People are always asking me, “Which character from your books are you most like?” but the truth is, I’m not like any of them! I WISH I were brave enough to sneak out of the house at night and battle evil spirits, like Susannah Simon in the Mediator series (who throughout all her ordeals manages to maintain her keen Manhattan fashion sense).
I WISH I could tell where missing people are and was able to help find them, and that I regularly got detention because of always sticking up for the underdog, like uber-cool Jess Mastriani in the Vanished books.
And I WISH I could tell when the people around me were going to die, so I could warn them in advance, thus saving them, and also had a really cute dog that I’d saved from a shelter and had two hot guys, one of whom was a vampire, and the other a vampire hunter, totally battling it out over me like Meena in Insatiable (and Overbite, this summer).
I completely wish that, if I ever accidentally die and am then rescusitated and end up with the ruler of the Underworld following me around, like my character Pierce in my new book Abandon, I’ll handle it the way she does.
But I highly doubt if personally faced with any of these situations I’d do anything but go on YouTube and look at videos of people squealing over the puppies they got for Christmas until it all went away.
Puppies! For Christmas!
And if I were as funny as Mia Thermopolis, I wouldn’t feel the need to get a brain transplant like Em Watts (who PS actually does not want one, she is forced to undergo one. I’m the only person I know who wants a brain transplant, another sign of how much I need more grit).
It is clear from the way Mattie Ross handles herself in True Grit that she has spent her spare time (when she isn’t catching murderers) more effectively than I have, not worrying so much about qualities she doesn’t have and instead making up rules for herself like Allie Finkle. These rules include:
Never give up.
Don’t let anyone tell you what to do.
Be true to yourself, and
Learn to shoot your dad’s Colt Walker, because most boys are highly untrustworthy.
I personally can’t think of a better resolution for 2011 than trying to have a bit more grit, and be more like the fictional characters we admire.
I know I’m going to try. How about you?