Welcome to the Sunday Street Team!!! I am pleased to have Kim Culbertson as one of January’s featured authors.
Why did you write about perfectionism?
Whenever I go to author events, inevitably someone asks me which of my characters is most like me. I’ve written five books, including The Possibility of Now, and of all my characters, Mara is probably the most like me. She’s not me, I want to be clear about that, but I struggle with one of her defining character traits — her perfectionism.
My mom used to tell my teachers that she didn’t have to be hard on me because I was already the hardest on myself. And not in a good way. In a lay-awake-at-night-worrying- myself-sick sort of way. I’m not alone. I’ve been a high school teacher for eighteen years and I’ve seen more than my share of kids go through a system that increasingly piles on expectations, and whose parents often place extreme pressure on them to have a fully-formed adult sense of success even when they are quite young. But then the world shows them that their best sometimes isn’t enough to achieve these goals. For someone with perfectionist tendencies or any form of anxiety, it’s a vicious cycle that takes daily management to combat. Mara is my response to that system, to those students, and to my own challenges with trying to find a balance between wanting to do good work, but also giving ourselves a break once in awhile to enjoy the elusive “now.”
Perfection is overrated.
Ultimately, I’ve come to realize that it is our imperfections that are often the most interesting parts of us. I hope The Possibility of Now allows readers a look into the competitive side of our culture that fuels perfectionism and how it can cause problems. Obviously, there are many windows into this subject; this book is just one, and each person has to find a coping mechanism that works. For me, my sense of humor often saves me in situations that might have otherwise drowned me without it. So I also wanted to bring a sense of humor into the novel, offering a funny and wry side of Mara that I hope shines through the story.
About the Author:
Kim Culbertson is the author of Catch a Falling Star; Instructions for a Broken Heart, a Northern California Book Award winner; and Songs for a Teenage Nomad. When she’s not writing young adult novels, she teaches high school creative writing. Kim lives with her husband and their daughter in Northern California. For more about Kim, visit www.kimculbertson.com.