I think there are three fundamental reasons people choose to write for children. 1) They had wonderful childhoods, and strive to recapture the magic of that time (Me). 2) They truly love being around children (Robin). Or, 3) No matter how hard they try, they just can’t stomach the idea of making grown-up decisions and plans, and therefore, still think and act like a juvenile (Jay). Okay, that last one wasn’t fair, because it clearly describes me. Sorry, Jay! You’re way more of a grown-up than I am. Of course, one could argue that a fourth reason would be that some people suffer traumatic childhoods and therefore want to either cathartically process those memories, or escape them by creating make-believe childhoods through their books, a la J.M. Barrie, Hans Christian Andersen, and Margaret Wise Brown. But I guess that’s a whole 'nother post!
This past week I visited my parents back east, and although they’ve moved from the house in which I grew up (in So Cal), my bedroom in this new house looks and feels exactly the same as my old one. I love returning to my yellow and green flowered bedspread, my small, dark furniture filled with books I collected as a kid, and my closet of puzzles and games like Candyland, Operation, and Hungry Hungry Hippos. Whenever I visit, I spend hours sifting through the time capsule of memories that is my bedroom. Just sitting there in the space brings me back to elementary school (like the time K.K. and her evil crew of 5th grade cronies followed me around the playground accusing me of stuffing my bra), junior high (like the time I got busted for arguing with the principal over why it was unfair and ludicrous to ban wearing bandanas when his necktie clearly posed the same threat of being used as a strangulation weapon), and high school (like the time I got my heart broken by B.S. and subsequently cried for an entire year). Ahh, good times!
Despite those three traumas, I always loved school. I know people generally look back at high school and recount the bullying and the wicked hierarchical caste system of adolescence, but I loved it so much that I actually miss it! Yes, I loved high school. There. I said it.
Somehow, I miraculously escaped my teen years without experiencing any angst. Of course, I was very involved in activities, had tons of friends, and was generally oblivious to the cliques or the gossip mill.
There are even times, like when I find old funny notes or sketches that my friends Maril and Kelly passed me in class, or I come across a prom picture of my wonderful senior year sweetheart and me, that I truly wish I could go back. It really was the best time of my life. I tell you what, if there was a magic potion I could drink that would take me back to high school forever, I’d hook up my beer bong and chug it right now. No joke!