Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Is This Why I Write for Teens?

#amwriting #writing #inspiration #kidlit

Even though I'm long removed from my teen years, I still get the giggles and find myself acting silly with some of my grown-up friends. With three kids of my own, including a couple of teenagers, I look for humor in life's situations. Is this why I write for teens?

The days of my seventeenth year play over and over in my memories, like a song stuck in my head. My senior field trip to Washington D.C. would make for some great scenes in a book: accidentally ordering calamari (a whole squid stared back at me with beady black eyes) at some famous Italian restaurant, arguing with the waiters in Spanish (because, after all, I took two years of that language) only to reorder eggplant on a plate, and an exploding can of Coke in the D.C. airport (right before we boarded our plane).

I think by now, you know I was never a shy kid. Our class visited the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, and we hung out with the Hope Diamond. The 45.52 carats of blue diamond won me over, but my best friend and I soon tired of diamonds and dinosaur bones.

Next, we discovered the Air and Space Museum. These were pre-911 days with minimal security. As the day lagged, the tour guide lulled us to sleep. The fact that we were hundreds of miles from our parents spurned us to jump ship. We skipped the rest of the tour, found the top floor and created our own entertainment. I hopped onto a small stage and pretended to flirt with a mannequin while holding his hand. He posed perfectly for a picture, wearing a space suit.

The entire museum, at that time, sported little white buttons you pressed for an interactive guide--a voice recording telling you more information. I spotted several and kept pushing them. Then I found a red one, pushed it, and read the sign above: FIRE ALARM. Uh, oh. My finger was still on the button, pressing down. Should I let go or keep pressure on it, forever? Where's the panic button when you need one?

The faint alarm sounded. No armed guards stormed the castle, not even a warning shot. A trail of tears, I mean laughter, could be heard all the way to the mall, the Washington Mall; it's just grass really. So, we avoided jail time and off we went to see The Wizard of Oz, I mean Dorothy's shoes from the movie held in the Museum of American History, luckily without being arrested.

If you write for kids or teens, where do you get your inspiration?

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