I went up to Aardvark while they were working and bought six books. Three titles of the latest "Best American" (fiction, essays, science/nature) and three titles from the YA section - Twilight, Hunger Games (the titular premier volumes of those series) and "The Throne of Fire", which is apparently mid-series, by one Rick Riordan, and has something to do with ancient Egyptian gods and a giant snake threatening to eat the sun. I am not sure how long any of these will hold my attention but I'll at the very least browse them for writing style, themes, and so on.
But you know, the worst thing I could do is say "I'm going to write Young Adult Fiction" and take a formulaic approach. Any genre has rules and conventions but nobody likes to be talked down to; so it's got to be something that's interesting to me or I won't be able to pull it off. I'm really not contemplating becoming a "Young Adult Writer" either, it's just that I'd like to be able to write stuff that's accessible and interesting to that age group.
I think young people are interested in the past - but it has to be presented in a way that doesn't remind them of parents, teachers, or boring history books. Ancient Egypt is cool. (Ancient Egypt has ALWAYS been cool. Ancient Egypt was cool in Ancient Rome.) The more recent past could be cool, too. And you know, things that I don't think are cool might be cool to someone from a younger generation. Eighties music is now "oldies".
So, memoirs and nostalgia could be fun if it's done right. A memoir of growing up in the 70s with my crazy f**ked-up family? Well, who knows. I absolutely do not want to write a long, miserable account of my miserable childhood, and I'm quite sure nobody would want to read it. But if it were short vignettes, entertainingly told - "dark humor" I think would be the appropriate mood - it might work. It could be either true-to-life (as best I remember it) or fictionalized, though I'm strongly leaning toward the latter. Hmmm, I think I already have a title: "Cable Telephone and Wireless TV". I could touch on the little technological cliches (record players, rotary phones, etc.) but they're just that - cliches - and the important thing would be getting to the stuff that matters. Relationships, family dysfunction, the zeitgeist (beyond the pop-culture references) - that's the stuff that would make it tick. And I could touch on culture and politics, too - the decade of "All In The Family" and the liberalism my parents believed in.
Fantasy - I wouldn't mind going back to that. Would like to resurrect the universe of "The Queen's Courtesan". Also my long-pondered sequel to "The Zero Ring". Maybe a fantasy world with Biblical echoes? I need to know my Bible better anyway!
POSTSCRIPT - The above is from my OhLife journal entry for January 3. It's me thinking out loud about writing. I like the idea of writing for younger people because I like the idea of having an impact on somebody's life at an early age. The YA books from my own youth really stayed with me - the Dark Is Rising books, the Green Knowe books, the Wrinkle in Time - well, "A Wrinkle in Time" anyway, I wasn't so big on the later ones. But I could spend a lot of time thinking back on the books I read in my teens and early twenties, and how they shaped the world I've lived in ever since. I like the idea of being able to reach people that way.
I think about Daniel and the world he lives in. I think about Sophie and the world she'll be growing up in. I guess I feel like I want to try to bridge that gulf - like what I wrote about earlier, with the Zelazny quote, "two different worlds ... never actually caught either one in the act of coming of going."
I'm looking forward to slowing down a bit this year - not slowing down from doing the things that are important to me, I guess I mean slowing down TO do the things that are important. Less time surfing the internet; more time reading books. More time writing - it could be with pen and paper, or on a computer, but focused. Less Facebook, more LiveJournal. You get the idea.
This'll be my last year in San Francisco, and I am SO looking forward to moving back to Stumptown! Slowing down also means getting ready for the move, and getting ready to plan out what comes after the move - what I'm going to do with the next few years, or decades, of my life. I was never very good at that kind of planning, but I mean to start.
And a little farther down the road, who knows? Some serious writing - maybe a book published?
A non-dysfunctional relationship?