Monday, February 11, 2013

High school is forever.

This one's primarily for the YA authors reading this: a New York Magazine piece that argues that ages 15-25 are the most important and most poignant of our lives:

Why You Truly Never Leave High School

Do you still feel connected to your adolescent self? If so, does it benefit your writing?

Bonus question: if you're friends with your high school classmates on Facebook, does that ongoing connection affect your sense or your memories of that part of your life?


Kara said...

This is so much bigger than a blog comment...I often wonder if that is why so many of us choose to write YA. Is there something we're trying to work out? Is there something unresolved? Do we think we can right a wrong by writing a different ending to a personal story? It's one of those "I could wonder about this all day if I didn't have a sink full of dishes and an eight year old to pick up from school" quandaries. I do keep in touch with a good number of high school friends. Some of them, those that I knew only in high school, are "surface" know the type. I might like a status or two, comment on how cute their children are, and then move along. Some, though, especially those I knew from elementary school onward, are special. And makes remembering certain aspects of my high school self...ah...different. ;) Gathering their memories and adding them to my own has had an interesting effect. Sometimes you only remember one side of the story. Seeing it from other angles can make you rethink things a little bit. Relive high school? I don't know. I don't think I would. Though sometimes, my neighborhood of Real Housewives and Honey Boo Boos can make it feel like none of us will EVER leave our high school alter egos behind.

Jessica Brockmole said...

This was just fascinating; thanks for sharing! I really do feel that I was able to move past high school fairly quickly. Life after graduation was just so much more interesting, like I'd already gotten through the jitters and kinks of the dress rehearsal. I'm able to treat it now as fodder for the noveling. Like Kara said, incidents and emotions from those adolescent days often pop up in our own writing. A cathartic "what if".

Unknown said...

This was an interesting one. If I'm honest, I'm not sure I felt connected to my adolescent self even when I *was* an adolescent. I felt as though high school was merely a rite of passage before the interesting part of life began. Currently, I'm 35 and I truly believe that it's the most poignant and interesting part of my life so far. Marriage, growing to appreciate my parents in ways teenagers never do, working at two jobs I love, owning my own home and making it into exactly what I want it to be... In my opinion being an adult is superior in every possible way. (Except for metabolism. Full points to youth on that one!!)

Amy said...

Most of my (our!) high school friends stay pretty quiet on FB; I think I might be the most active one. But when I do see their updates on marriages and new kids, I have a cognitive disconnect! I remember them as they were, and can't seem to connect with who they are now. In some ways like a big sibling who doesn't know that her little siblings have grown up. Except, of course, for those of us who have kept in touch over the years and know each other pretty well now...
I sometimes wonder if the me now would even like the me then, and vice versa. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't... But from those years, in some ways I think the after high school portion of the 15 to 25 age range, i.e. my college years, dominate my memories more than do my high school years.
When I went to my (our) 10th reunion I didn't recognize or remember anyone outside our core group of about 6-10 people-- I spent those four years head down and insulated. College, on the other hand, was my coming out and discovering myself, and its those years and those people that stick with me most (excepting the 6-10 (or fewer) people from that high school group!). Interestingly, I'm friends with about as many of them on FB as my high school friends. My post-school friends dominate now.
Oh, and my grad school was also within that range, too. A very forming time.
Honestly, I feel stuck at the age of 23. And my main character is about 25. So, maybe that's the answer to your question! I think it does benefit my writing, in that way.
I'm sure I'll be left thinking about this for a while yet. I'd love to discuss it further... (coffee? hint hint!)

Jessica Brockmole said...

Amy, that's an interesting point, about the ages of our characters. Thinking about it, most of my heroines tend to be mid to late twenties, yet I feel that thirty was when I finally settled into myself. Maybe I keep sending my characters back to their late twenties in an effort to sort through myself at that age. Do authors tend to write certain ages more than others? I've never really paid that close attention.