Yesterday I completed my first pre-release speaking engagement with the Downingtown Library Teens group. Of course I was nervous, who wouldn't be on their first go-around?
When everyone from the group came in, I immediately relaxed. Unlike adults, you can tell quite a bit about a teen simply from their body language. They don't try to hide who they are behind a prim and proper mannerism like us adults. They are who they are, which I love.
I found it easy to build a rapport with them. (Some would argue because my mind still resides in that age group.) I believe that may be part of it -all of us long to be able to return to those care-free days. Part of it is because unlike the drones of adults I come across on a day to day basis, each and every one of them was unique -it was obvious from the second they walked through the door. I could tell by the way they walked, the way they sat, who they sat next to, where they looked and who they interacted with. I believe at that age, they strive for individuality as much as people in their 20's and beyond strive for conformity and consistency.
I found it easy to immediately enjoy each of their personalities -to find humor in their jokes and to appreciate their one-of-a-kind methods of interacting with me and others in the group.
I realize this isn't some societal epiphany -I'm sure teachers go through this all the time, but as someone who hasn't interacted with this age group (my oldest just turned 13) often, I found the joy and excitement and energy in it. There was passion in every one of them -again something usually washed away by the flow of time, and it was empowering.
I spoke for about an hour, discussed my book, writing, publishing, popular titles. We played a game, I gave out some prizes including copies of The Maze Runner, Divergent and the least known but most coveted, Hunted.
Some stuck around to chat after it was over -the excitement was still there. I felt, for the first time that my cause, my passion -to help change the lives of tweens, teens, and young adults through writing and reading is in motion.
It was an exciting and energizing experience. I can't wait to do it again!
As always, find interviews, writing samples, videos, contests and more on my re-vamped website.
In bookstores 6-5-2012