Monday, March 26, 2012

What the Heck is a Gimcrack?

            I can’t say I’m taking my blog in a new direction because that would suggest I had a direction in the first place. In my post “Screamin’ and Kickin’,” I admitted I started a blog solely as promotion for my new book. And that was it. Once I’d created a couple of posts about my novel, I was stuck. I had some ideas, but I wasn’t sure they would appeal to my book’s target audience, young adults. I looked at a few blogs geared toward that age group, and the writers are all young and perky and cool and “with-it.”  In short, they are all the things I’m not. How could I compete with them?

            Then I started taking note of the feedback on my novel. A lot of positive comments were coming from...shall we say... readers who don’t fit into young adult demographics. And then another interesting phenomenon occurred which reflected what I was hearing. An article in—dare I say it?—Modern Maturity magazine explained lots of adults were reading young adult literature. Because, as David Levithan, editorial director at Scholastic Press stated, “A good book is a good book.”
            That’s when I became excited, and the title Gems and Gimcracks for Young Women of All Ages was born. I could gear my blog toward any woman with a young-at-heart attitude. I can be myself and write about things I know. And I don't have to sound like someone or something I’m not.
            Now, about that word gimcrack...  
            The first time I came across it, I snickered like a middle-schooler. Even though the context indicated the word probably meant something like “a trifle” or “a trinket,” images formed in my mind—images associated with those one might find in a boys’ locker room. Now come on, admit it. You had the same thoughts, didn’t you?
            The actual definition is “a showy object of little use or value.” To some, that might sound like a gimcrack is worthless junk—like those prizes we used to find in cereal boxes or Cracker Jacks. Or for those a bit younger, like the toys found in McDonald’s Happy Meals or the jewelry found in dollar stores.
            But even with such a degrading definition, I don’t think of a gimcrack as worthless. Anything that makes me smile or brings at least a fleeting moment of pleasure can’t be completely without value. So in addition to sharing some  metaphorical gems, I’m going to use my blog to share a gimcrack from time to time. Maybe a lot of the time. Okay, probably most of the time. I thought about labeling each post as either "gem" or "gimcrack" but chose to let you decide for yourself. What might be a gem for me, might be a gimcrack for you. It might be a physical object, but it could also be a joke, a phrase, a thought, an anecdote...anything that brought a smile to my face or a lift to my day. Hopefully, it will bring the same to yours. 
            Share with me. What’s a favorite gimcrack of yours?


  1. I like your thoughts on YA - a good book is a good book. And if you look at the success of the Hunger Games this weekend, it wasn't just teenagers in the audience. I'm finding good YA books are the best books out there as they have cleaver, new, exciting themes other than the tired old women over coming divorce - like most mainstream women's lit.
    And I like your blog. It's a gem not a gimcrack.

  2. Thanks, Christine. I'm a big fan of your blog, too.

  3. So when I was thinking a gimcrack might be like a geegaw, I wasn't too far off.

    Oh, my word. I just said "geegaw." How old am I, anyway?


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