Rosemary Nissen-Wade: Aussie poet and teacher of metaphysics – a personal view
My bestie nicknamed me SnakyPoet on her blog, and I liked it. (It began as
'the poet of the serpentine Northern Rivers' and became more and more abbreviated.)

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Vicarious Adolescence

Migrated from LiveJournal / Dreamwidth 

I just rented 'Love, Simon' from BigPond Movies. The time limit for watching was 48 hours. I watched it three times, I loved it so much.

Why? It's not great art or anything. As everyone probably knows by now, it's a sweet love story about gay teenage boys coming out. It's beautifully handled and well acted, but still. Three times in 48 hours seems a bit excessive even to me. I'm a 78-year-old straight woman; what was so interesting? (To be fair, if I'd bought it and wasn't going to lose access to it any minute, I might not have watched it again quite so soon.)

It's true that I've been good friends with a number of gay men, two of whom were schoolboys when the friendships began. But so I have with gay women (though that's not relevant to this movie). And with straight men and straight women. I just happen to have friendships with all kinds of people, of all different ages.

Then it dawns on me. It's the 'young adult' thing. I read young adult books all the time; it's one of my favourite genres. I loved the movie 'The Breakfast Club', made when I was well and truly adult myself – loved it so much that I bought it years ago and re-watch it from time to time.

I never really questioned it before. We don't question what we enjoy; why should we? But now that I am questioning, I realise I didn't really have much of a teenage. Australian High School students of my era didn't, compared with American ones in the age of cell phones and laptops, but in my case there was also the parents' divorce, the uprooting to a different part of the country during school term, the stepmother from Hell, going back to my old home in school holidays when old friends were often away.... 

Then I went to University, on a Commonwealth Scholarship, with a living allowance which was pretty much a pittance. I became too busy studying, and too poor compared with kids who were working, to be going out and having fun. Because I had finished my schooling in a different State from the one I grew up in, I went to a University where I knew no-one instead of the one where all my old school friends went, so I didn't even have that cameraderie. And I was a shy girl to start with, let alone traumatised by two years of the Mad Stepmother's rule. I did make new friends eventually; I did eventually manage some sort of a social life– but I felt that I missed out on a normal adolescence.

My Firstborn, who also went straight from school to University, but didn't have all that other stuff that happened to me, felt that just by being a student he missed out on his teenager-hood. So he decided to have it in his late twenties, and did mad things like dyeing his hair and some wild partying. In my own time I didn't even do that. In my late twenties I was busy having him and his brother, in what was already my second marriage. I did have a bit of fun in my early twenties I must admit, but the young and single phase didn't last very long.

So it seems I'm living a vicarious adolescence. But as it's relatively harmless and quite enjoyable, I guess I won't worry.

Friday, August 17, 2018

A Private Snark

Migrated from LiveJournal / Dreamwidth

Which of these topics should I write about?' asks a novelist on Facebook. 'Remember, I'm not doing this for fun. I'm trying to make money.'

I don't know her well enough to say, 'In that case, try advertising copy or technical reports.  When it comes to creative writing, if you're not having fun your readers won't either. And that means they won't keep reading.'

(Though actually, I imagine the advertising copy could be fun.)