As an adult the holidays (even Easter) are still wonderful but behind that for me there's always the lurking idea of how they used to be when I was a kid. You know, that whole "wow, this is a lot smaller then I remembered" feeling when you revisit a place you haven't been in decades. Celebrating holidays takes on a whole new meaning when you have kids and since mine is only a year and half I haven't gotten to do the whole anticipation part with him yet since he doesn't really get it completely. That time will come and I look forward to it while still loving the experience now but...I get nostalgic of my own time as a child and how special everything, and I mean everything, used to feel.
Yet another reason I'm drawn to write young adult stories! It's funny how these epiphanies strike me randomly these days because when I started writing I would have had trouble telling you why I was writing YA aside from the one reason - cause I want to. I love discovering these little nooks and crannies in myself and observing fragments of what makes me tick, especially as a writer.
My longing of childhood and appreciation of the magic of those days help me write what I think teens might want to read. Well, I sure hope they do at least. My own teen years were awesome in many ways but were as equally challenging. I hated some days and months back then as I struggled to find myself while thinking I knew it all. The young adult years are an incredible period in your life even if you have no idea of it at the time. I know I had no idea. It was appalling to read an old journal I got as a birthday gift when I was 16. It was horrifying to see how many times I bitched about a boy or a friend or even my family yet looking back I have fond memories. I guess they couldn't have been that bad then!
YA has become a massive presence in most book stores and its no wonder because being a teen now is far more challenging than it was even when I was and I'm only 30. They have concerns that I never dreamed of having. So there are books that cover every imaginable experience, real and imaginary. The ones that seem to do the best are the ones that go to the extreme on either side of the spectrum. They might be so real and raw it hurts or they're so out there and things we wish we could be or do that they help us escape boring or painful realities. Now what are my favorites tend to be what combines the two. I love books that take exciting fantastical places and plots and weave them into ordinary peoples lives. I can relate to the story and characters while being swept away into some glorious love story or grip the edge of your seat adventure.
Missing the freshness anticipation and possibility of being a kid is a good thing in many ways. A very good thing for most of us and yes, especially if you happen to be a writer who is trying to capture what it felt like to be back in that time of our lives. While I never wanted to be a rock star at the age of 18 or even now at 30 or to fall madly in love with not one, but two amazingly sexy guys from another planet, I sure as heck think it sounds like a whole lot of fun. And so I write about just that very thing.
So I don't think I'll ever stop wishing I could wake up on Easter morning to a giant basket full of yummy candy and gifts or even what it feels like to spot the boy of your dreams on the dance floor during a night of dancing with your girlfriends. Not so sure the Easter bunny will be showing up with anything for me in the years to come but I'm sure I can hit the club if I find a babysitter! But at least I can write about it.