Posts Tagged ‘teenagers’

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Teen Reads

April 26, 2012

Call me crazy, but I’ve never been a spring fan. Jump me straight to summer any day. However, this winter was hard, and I can’t say I’m sad to see it moving into the distant past. In order to help survive, I spent many of the long nights writing a dark, young-adult novel.

Why do teens gravitate to the dark and mysterious? The answer’s not simple, and a few factors are at play.

First, a teen is no longer a child and yet, not quite an adult (although they’d no doubt disagree with the latter). This defines unsettled identity. Where do they belong? Teen readers can tap into different characters to help them sort their own lives. Second, teens need avenues to process confusion in their own lives. They often feel alone and isolated, when in fact, many of them are being met with similar challenges. When a reader can connect with a character, it can help them feel less alone. Teens also are met with pain that can no longer be fixed by a kiss and a Band-Aid. Their emotions rage and their problems can feel unbearably intense. A book that has even darker content than their own lives makes them feel not so awful. Finally, teens may just like to escape into the dark for the sheer adventure of it. Why not?

Perhaps I wrote the novel for some of the same reasons teens will read it. At any rate, I’m ready to move on and find a new adventure. Thank goodness for spring!

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Don’t Blame Erica Jong

June 12, 2009

You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame. –Erica Jong

Could someone please explain this to my children? Seriously, what would they do without Mom to blame?

At our house, you can hear someone ask, “Where’s my blue shirt with the butterfly on it?” “Who moved my homework?” “Where are my ski gloves?” or “Who took my snack?” at any given time on any given day.

My answer, of course is Poltergeist. The Borrowers. Mysterious fairies live in our house and eat my kids’ homework. But do my kids think so? No sirreee. Mom did it.

Just exactly when do we grow up and learn not to blame? Can we, as adults, embrace personal responsibility and stop blaming the driver in front of us? The weather? The teacher? Okay, so maybe I won’t stop blaming the parent who screams at kids on the soccer field, but he’s an idiot.

Waking up to the realization that we are in control of our actions and reactions to life is not an easy task. We can’t control snow in the spring, but we can fix a pina colada and crank the heat and pretend. In fact, I’m headed to the bar right now.

When we blame others, or the weather, or circumstance we find discontent. Once we own up to what is, we can begin to truly let go and live.

First, I have to go find my car keys. My husband stole them.

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Aristotle Cleaned His Room

March 30, 2009

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act but a habit.

-Aristotle

I’m excellent and saying “Go Clean Your Room.” I’m not sure if it’s a habit, but I repeatedly say it.

What do you do in your life repeatedly? Tell the kids to do their homework? Turn off the i-pod? I’m excellent at those too.

Here’s a better question, what do you want to do repeatedly? What would you like to see become habit in your life? It’s easy (for me) to put eating M&M’s or licorice sticks on the list, but what if we put forth things like excellence, integrity, or kindness? Would they become habit?

Aristotle was on to something. Not only will the things we do repeatedly become habit, but the more we practice the better we get. As a writer, I know this to be true. I repeatedly write. It’s a habit. It may not be good writing, but eventually, the habit and practice of writing make it easier to find the good and I do get better. I’d like this to leak into the rest of my life. Excellence as a habit, rather than an act, sounds pretty good to me.

On that note, I need to get excellent at making dinner.