Attention YA writers: I have found the mythical portal to the teen years.
The bad news: it may summon feelings of inadequacy and regret.
The good news: it's probably in your house. You may even have more than one!
Break out your high school yearbook, and everything you need is right inside; your young self is full of ideas and hormones and angst.
My yearbooks made an unexpected appearance this week (read: the toddler raided my book shelf) and I can't stay out of them.
And my heart again is aflutter for that teenaged boy who made me feel like I belonged on this planet. He's married now, and so am I, and we haven't been in love for well over 15 years. But looking at teen him, I am 18 again, full of love. . .and utter insecurity.
Gold Mine. My memories are fresh now, and tapping into those genuine feelings can carry me through 70,000 words. Easy.
And then there are the messages.
They're rife with hope, innuendo, and long-forgotten nuance. I remember scraping that lipstick off my cheek at speech tournaments. I can feel the heat of my synthetic marching band uniform during sweltering August band nights. We were, ironically, The Unruly Ones, and our ditties about love and loss dance in my dreams. I remember what RAL was hinting at when he wrote, "You know how I feel." Yeah, I still know how he felt. And how I felt.
Excitement! Confusion. Hope. Dread. I can feel it all. Because technology changes. Fashion changes. Music changes. But a teen heart still beats in excitement or fear, just as it did 20 years ago.
I still wish I had hugged that guy whose heart broke as his beloved ran away, giggling like a third grader. I wish I would have been a better friend. I wish I would have had more fun and broken more rules. Hell, I wish I had broken rules, period! I wish I had known that everyone harbored embarrassment, insecurity, and fear. I wish I could change my worst memories.
And that, my friends, is golden. I can write a book on wishes.
And so can you.
I blog rarely, because I'm busy writing books. When I do blog, I focus on writing, friendship, family, and books. Because my family's best nicknames are private, I use their birth years for shorthand: