Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Teenage Years Are A B#$%*

handsome cat
A very handsome cat.
Photo by Trish Hartmann

I had decided on my next writing project. I plotted and wrote out 15 (hand-written) pages of an outline for a contemporary YA. It's about a boy and his cat. The boy's having a bit of a traumatic senior year because he didn't get into the only college he applied to and now his cat isn't doing so well. There's a bit of a love angle with an old friend, but it's not a conflicted one. The story was meant to include a caper in which the boy and his friends attempt to sneak the cat into the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see a painting by the cat's favorite artist. (You do weird things for the people/pets that you love - including deciding that your cat has a favorite artist.)

Degas ballerina statue, Philadelphia Museum of Art
I took this myself! I love Degas' artwork.
This is the Philadelphia Museum of Art

I love the characters. I like the plot and its development. I wanted to write this book, but every time I sat down to write I just could not get the words out. And I think it was because writing from the perspective of an eighteen-year-old was just kind of painful.

I was putting myself in this poor boy's shoes, and, quite frankly, my teenage years are not ones that I particularly want to re-live. And I think THAT is why I was having so many problems actually sitting down to write.

locker room, gym class
Photo by Kate Ter Haar

My teenage years were by far my most awkward. Some of the reasons for that were:
  • Hormones.
  • First kisses are messy & nobody knows if they're doing it right.
  • Popularity is always a Thing, but it felt so much more Thing-like during these years.Playing off that popularity Thing, I never had the right clothes, and the right clothes seemed so important at this time in life.
  • Not knowing who I wanted to be yet.
  • A lot of self-condemnation (you know, for saying the wrong thing, wearing the wrong thing, etc.)
  • I was not always terribly socially aware, but I was pretty good at realizing I'd done/said the wrong thing some time after the fact. But almost never in time to actually avoid the awkward situation.
  • Rebellion against parents that felt so important back then but feels a bit silly now.

I'm sure I could name a few more, but that list is quite enough to make me start cringing, so I think I'll stop there.

The Teenage Years were an interesting and important time. I made some of my closest friends during that time (including my husband). But, my gosh, am I glad they are over.

I love this story, and I have the feeling I'll be coming back to it at some point in time, but right now I'm making absolutely no headway, and I think it's time to get back to the slightly less awkward years so that I don't drive myself crazy with my lack of writing.

Besides, I already have a few ideas about how to re-vamp and re-write an old MG Fantasy that I loved. ...

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