I never wrote poetry until I read Francesca. I had a little blue book with blank pages that a family friend gave me. I didn't know what to do with it until I read Francesca's books. I turned to the first page and wrote Sister Magic, the second page Magic Cat, the third and fourth and fifth...
Needless to say, this author has played an integral part in my life and continues to do so.
Which is why I'm dedicating this post to one of her iconic books - Weetzie Bat - and what it's taught me about life.
They didn't even realize where they were living. They didn't care that Marilyn's prints were practically in their backyard at Graumann's; that you could buy tomahawks and plastic palm tree wallets at Farmer's Market, and the wildest, cheapest cheese and bean and hot dog and pastrami burritos at Oki Dogs...
I spent my teenage years in small town Texas and went to a school with a population of about 300. I hated it. I hated the school, I hated the town, I hated everything and anything about it. I wanted out of that small town and out of Texas all together. Nobody got it, ya know? Nobody understood anything outside of their bubble of existence. I thought I was imprisoned with a bunch of clones who cared about nothing but football games and cowboy hats.
Weetzie felt the same way, but she was able to see the magic and beauty that surrounded her. She was living in Los Angeles, of course, but I dared myself to do the same. To find some kind of sanity, some kind of beauty exactly where I was. It was hard, but I found it at the park where the river flowed and I swore I saw fairies. I found it in the old oak trees. I found it in my best friend who kept me laughing and from going crazy.
She couldn't leave where it was hot and cool, glam and slam, rich and trashy, devils and angels, Los Angeles.
Francesca describes California in such a way that you can't help but fall in love with it. When I read her descriptions in Weetzie Bat I instantly knew where my heart was, and it's remained there ever since.
The best friend I mentioned above ended up moving to California before our sophomore year in high school. I visited every few years and it was everything I had ever imagined. Some of my best memories are there: Halloween night at a punk club (where I showed up in a pink tube top and body glitter), Disneyland, scoping out surfer boys, getting the cops called on us because we were skating on school property at night, beach days and surf competitions, the palm trees and Hollywood sign and pink smog. I love the beautiful mess that California is.
[Weetzie] was a skinny girl with a bleach-blonde flat-top. Under the pink Harlequin sunglasses, strawberry lipstick, earrings dangling charms, and sugar-frosted eye shadow she was really almost beautiful. Sometimes she wore Levi's with white-suede fringe sewn down the legs and a feathered Indian headdress, sometimes old fifties' taffeta dresses covered with poetry written in glitter, or dresses made of kids' sheets printed with pink piglets or Disney characters.
I've always felt a little strange; I never "fit in" in any grade, especially not high school, and I didn't feel like I could truly be myself until I dropped out. Afterward, I put on my knee-high combat boots and bondage pants and strutted around like I owned the world.
I think we all give power to other people, even as we get older. Validation is a lingering thing, but when you can get to the point where other people's opinions mean little, you can fall in love with your uniqueness. The thing is, there will always be people who don't like you, don't like how you dress, don't like how you smile, but there are even more people who do. But whether people like your new boots or hate your haircut, it's better just to be yourself. And much, much easier.
They are in love. But even before they were in love they knew they were going to be happy and in love someday. They trusted. They have always loved themselves.
Positive thinking. Love yourself before you can love another. Yes, Weetzie and her Secret Agent Lover Man were prepared to love each other because they loved themselves first.
This lesson was a hard one for me. I was 20 before I had a boyfriend and 26 before I allowed myself to love me and my life before getting into another relationship.
It makes a difference. When you accept yourself, love yourself inside and out, revel in your own life/friends/hobbies, a significant other is the cherry on top - not the whole sundae.
I've always had a little sparkle in my eye, but I think Francesca infused my veins with glitter. She's taught me that even darkness has light and tragedy has beauty. Her words are like rose-colored glasses and I go back to them again and again for inspiration in writing and in life.
Life is magical with all its hidden beauty, poetic souls, love and light and happiness and challenges, creative beings, inspiring books, bean and cheese burritos, and characters like Weetzie Bat who teach us that beauty is everywhere and love resides inside.