Karolyn Sherwood, Author

Gr8xpectations

If you’ve been following along, you know my husband and I spend the worst of winter in Costa Rica. Now spring is here and our days in this beautiful country are drawing down, but we haven’t lost our adventuresome spirit.

For the past two years, we have heard about a Farmers’ Market just twenty minutes from our home, so we decided to check it out. Have you ever been to CR? It is LUSH with bananas, plantains, mangos, pineapple, cantaloupe, rice, sugar cane, coffee, and more. Boy did I have great expectations!

That’s not really a surprise though, it’s the story of my life. Hell, Gr8xpectations used to be my email address ~ not kidding. I don’t think anyone has gotten their feelings hurt more than I have (at least it seems that way). I always hope for the best, give people the benefit of the doubt, and generally count on people staying true to their word. The older I get though, the more I understand how life really works. Soon I will be cynical, skeptical, and pessimistic like the rest of you.

Ok, so today. The Farmers’ Market? Should have been called a Farmer’s Market. No joke. One (American) lady had one basket with a few heads of lettuce and some cucumbers. That was it. I don’t even LIKE cucumbers! Apparently there’s a “real, local” farmers’ market on Fridays in “the city” but we missed it. Guess we’ll try again next year.

But, think about it. Don’t we all carry expectations with us to some degree as we go on vacation/buy a new book/go to a movie/order a nice meal? Sure we do. We hope and expect things to be fun, good, or entertaining, especially if we’re spending time and money on them.

So here’s what I’m wondering about:

Why is it that we’re more likely to be let down by a “good” book that isn’t “as great as they said”, and we really enjoy work that had low expectations? Same goes for movies like Little Miss Sunshine and Sideways. They were small films that had huge box office and critical success.

This is actually encouraging news for me. Since I don’t have an MFA, since I haven’t written a blockbuster yet, and I spent most of my working life as an art dealer, the expectations for my debut novel probably won’t be too high, except my own of course. I won’t be happy until I’ve written the best book possible, one that perhaps Charles Dickens would be impressed with. Or maybe William Faulkner. He once said: “The only thing worth writing about is the conflict in the human heart.” That is exactly what my novels are about.

Meanwhile, I’ve really got my hopes up for the Farmers’ Market in Des Moines; it’s enormous, plentiful, and only one block from our home. It will be great!

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