On my way to work today, my teen daughter decided to grace me with one of her many wonderful ponderings. The conversation went something like this:
Teen: "Mom, did you know that music floats all around us?"
Me: "I'm not sure I follow you?"
Teen: "You turn the magic knob and voila, there is music!"
Me: "It doesn't exactly happen like--"
Teen: "Shhh...don't ruin it for me."
Now, before you ask if my daughter is really this dense, the answer is no. She was teaching me this morning. The lesson: Sometimes there just needs to be some magic. Adults are bogged down with technical, practical, rational thoughts everyday. Our children are trained to kill imagination and come down from the clouds, but my girl, well, she likes those clouds. And as a fellow cloud drifter, I'm apt to let her keep a few of her musings. It takes a very special soul to hang onto the imagination we harvest in our youngsters. We inspire them to believe in the magic of Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and many more...then, we rip it all away, killing every illusion we build in their gentle minds.
What does this have to do with writing? Well, should you find one of these young minds not quite touched by the world of adulthood, talk to them, listen to them, learn from them. If you're writing YA, find teens that are willing to speak freely with you. They are out there. On the YA loops, I see requests all the time about slang or phrasing. Why not just find a kid to talk too?
Our children are open doors to imagination. If you're stuck in a story or suffering from the dreaded "block", find a child. I wouldn't advise snatching one from the streets, but volunteer at your local library, schools, anyplace you can give back while absorbing their open minds.
And if you're lucky enough to find one like mine, you'll have story inspiration to last a lifetime.
Rachel Firasek currently resides in the heart of Central Texas with her husband and three children. An office manager by day, and an urban fantasy/paranormal romance author by night, her first release, Passion of the Soul: Piper’s Fury, is due out in the spring of 2011, with Crescent Moon Press.