Life's Teachers

While driving to my depo the other day, my mind wandering in oh-so-many different directions, I thought about an email conversation I'd had that morning with a young writer whose blog I found and liked so much, I sent her an impromptu email. (Visit Hanna Moskowitz's Invincible Summer blog; she’s so talented, she must have had a pen and paper or little handheld device in utero.) She emailed back and we had a fun exchange. Her blog has tons of information about the publishing side of the writing business. I have to say, I was a little blown away by her, and I thought about how we need to recognize the teachers around us, whether they're old and wise or young and wise.

I learn things from my soon-to-be 13 year old all the time. My family is fairly estrogen-heavy; four nieces before my son. The things I talk about with my boy are way different. He's taught me everything I've always wanted to know about cryptids, and so much more. His brain is so young and new and fresh. He sucks the information in and actually retains it.

Just yesterday we talked about [self-edited because Husband thought the subject matter was too gory and morbid]. We also talked about head transplants and their practicality, the whole "ethical" question, and the downright Frankenstein-ishness of it. Today, on the way to the store, we talked about prosthetic and robotic limbs. (Robots: very common topic around here.)

I've learned so much from so many people in my life. And older doesn't always mean wiser. Sometimes it means set in your ways and stubborn, closed off to new information or newfangled things. (Like me and texting. Ugh.)

Oh, one phrase I recently learned from my son: "Epic fail." I loved this so much, I worked it into conversation whenever I could for a few days (most likely driving him up the wall) and I even managed to work it into my book twice, even using it to title one of my chapters.

A common question my boy asks: Why do adults think kids are stupid? I can't tell you how many times I had the same thought when I was young. Why do adults forget what it was like to be young? Didn't we all promise ourselves that we'd never forget and do all the lame things that the grownups did? (And if you'd read textbooks and school materials directed at a young audience, you'd see what I'm talking about. They talk down to children. Or they try to be cool. Ugh.)

One thing I kept in mind while I was writing my young adult novel “Normalish,” which is aimed at a teen audience, is that teens are basically mini adults without the wisdom (usually) that comes from age and probably (hopefully) without the layers of cynicism that comes from having been exposed to too many of the not-so-good parts of life and the world.

I guess this is my way of saying you never know when you're going to have a moment of inspiration in your life, and you never can tell who might have something valuable to teach you. (And try not to be TSTL: too stupid to live.)

Okay, I’m done rambling.


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