And so it goes. 

And so it goes. 

Words about stuff about words. 

When young people read

I love it when young adults read my young adult books. They always confirm something for me: that what I'm writing speaks to them. They let me know that, even if adult readers may not get it, they do. 

 

Case in point: a couple of weeks ago, I did a presentation at the school where I teach. I spoke to a group of about 40 students, all of whom had asked to be there. We talked a lot about OUT, and about the general treatment of LGBT people, and a lot of other things. Talking with teenagers who want to have a conversation is one of the best things in the world. 

 

It reminds me of why I like to teach. 'Young adults' are almost adults, but not quite, which means they are smart enough and savvy enough to talk about abstract concepts and big ideas. It also means that they haven't yet become frozen or entrenched in a particular philosphy. They're still open to hearing things that are new. Of course, there are also many adults who remain this way, but not most. 

 

We talked that day about why the world is the way it is, why books are written, why people continue to read. It gave me hope. Those 'young adults' had some very profound things to say, and when I contrasted our conversations with most of the 'adult' conversations I hear every day, I realized that most of us (adults) are stuck (or choose to be stuck) talking about things that are byproducts of the important stuff.  We talk about bills and traffic and data and pain. We talk about medicine and toxins and tax breaks and politics. Those things do matter, but not in the grand scheme of things. When you're on your deathbed, you're not going to remember what your tax rate was in the year 2012. You most likely won't remember how much gas cost. And whatever medicines we're taking now may or may not be causing cancer in 20 years. 

 

I love to talk about 'what if' questions, and so do young adults. Their worlds are not yet fixed or set; they are still open to all possibilities. Their passion is undeniable. So many of us lose that as we grow older, like the color fading out of a beautiful painting left in a sunny window. But they are still vibrant. They still get excited about things, even things they read. 

 

Over the past week, a dozen or so students have dropped by my classroom to breathlessly comment on my book. One popped in and just said, "it's so sad!" and another said, "I read it and now I'm reading it again!"  One told me it's now her favorite book, and another said she felt uncomfortable watching the straight kids making out in the hall because her mind was still living inside the world of OUT.  

 

No matter how successful the book becomes, I feel like I accomplished something. The students reading the book and telling me what they think has invigorated me. It's restored a bit of color to my fading canvas. THANK YOU, young adults!

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