Monday, March 15, 2010


The CD changer is broken in my car, so I’ve been listening to a lot of radio stations lately. Taylor Swift’s Fearless came on the other day and got me thinking how much that song embodies the teen experience (in my mind at least).

As a teenager, I was fearless. I drove my car like that proverbial bat escaping the maw of hell. I took risks and called them adventures. I trusted strangers (especially boys) too much and expected to always escape unscathed. I don’t think I changed until I had my first kid at 26, to tell you the truth. (There’s a reason that Steve’s grandfather gifted me a book called How to Die in the Outdoors when I first knew him. He was terrified field work would make Steve a widower before 30.)

But I was emotionally insecure in a lot of ways. I didn’t trust my inner self, even if I trusted my outer body.

My characters are a lot like that, especially my new one, Jedda Hitler. She is trained as an assassin, whether she wants to be one or not. Yet inside, like most teens, she fears where she fits in, what people think of her. And not to talk about all that baggage of having a demon like Hitler as a grandfather!

The song made me want to channel my fearless teen characters more in my own life. I want to be fearless, to move forward with strength and conviction. Especially when it comes to working toward fulfilling my dreams and in raising my kids. Like my writing mantra I told you about, I don’t want to be limited by my own insecurities. I want to be FEARLESS. (Or at least in control of that fear.)

1. What age do you wish you could channel?
2. Do you think teens have that fearless or invincible mentality? Do you think they’re physically fearless, but emotionally loaded with insecurities?

BTW, this is the version I like best of Taylor Swift’s song:


  1. Great post. I was pretty reckless as a teen. Certainly not the life I'd want my own kids to live through. I spent a lot of years just trying to forget my stupidity, but writing and reading YA has forced me to take a look at it again. Not sure if I've tapped into it with my own writing, or if I even want to, but I do feel like I'm stronger now because I'm not ignoring it anymore.

    How's that for navel gazing! :)

  2. Nice thoughts. :)

    I don't think I've ever been very reckless, even as a teen. (Except when performing stunts on the playground.) However, the older I get, the more I tend to rebel a little against rule that make no logical sense. >.<

    I think that maybe why teens seem fearless physically is because they lack the years and experience to put things in perspective. Now that I think of it, I would kill my kids if they pulled some of the acrobatic stunts I did on the playground as a child--if gravity didn't get to them first. O:) Most kids live in the present. I think you're right about the internal insecurities as well. :)

  3. What age do I wish I could channel? There are positives and negatives to all ages. Age 20 was pretty good - I was more sure of myself, had more freedom than in my teens, and didn't have the responsibility/burdens of adulthood. I liked going to school, so even the workload didn't bother me. (And I was still skinny!)

    For #2, I think it's the latter. Nobody is fearless. We just need to work on fighting certain fears, regardless of age.

    And that's the great thing about being a writer - we can work on old fears or new ones.

    Hitler's granddaughter?

  4. Kids definitely are fearless and insecure. It's great to feel like you can never get hurt, I'm suprised so many teens make it through unscathed.

  5. I like how Taylor's songs are always age appropriate and true to herself. She's not singing stuff that's too old for her... she sings about what she knows, and it works. And it's true in writing, too!

  6. Both writing and parenting require a high degree of fearlessness. Good for you! I think I'm actually happy with the age I'm at now. I don't think I'd want to really channel the younger folks.

  7. In many ways I'm more fearless than I was as a child or teen. I always lacked confidence - I was shy and awkward socially. I was physically fearless - and have the scars and aches to prove it :)

    So, while I'm much less able physically now, I wouldn't give up the growing self-confidence.

  8. Elle: Your use of navel gazing made me snort my drink! I'll have to figure out a way to use that in a sentence today! Ha, ha.

    Danyelle: Playgrounds are the best fodder for bringing out the daredevil in kids. Just the other day my daughter ended up loosening up her two front teeth that way. Luckily they're teeth about to come out this year anyway.

    Therea: Twenty was my favorite age too, for the reasons you list. And I think you're right--no one is without fear wholly. And my WIP is what *if* Hitler had a kid. It's really not that far-fetched, the womanizer/monster...

    Laura: I'm surprised too. Perhaps they're made out of rubber up until a certain age? I even fell off a 25 foot cliff once @ 17.

    Julie: I agree! I hope she can stay that way--true to herself and a good role model for all those tweens who love her.

    Angie: I agree! Especially the parenting gig. I feel it's the toughest job I've ever loved. And that's awesome you love the age you're at. I do too, but sometimes I want that 20 year old body back...

    Jemi: I agree! I think I told you I was shy too and though I was fearless on the outside, I wasn't on the inside about myself. I wouldn't change the confidence I have now for the recklessness... er, I mean, FEARLESSNESS I had back then. Age has made me care less what people think.

  9. Teens think they are invincible in all ways and know everything. It was so weird when I got a little older and found out that by golly I didn't know everything and things by gosh could go wrong!

  10. Oh, I think they're totally loaded with insecurities. I worked with the young in my neighborhood for two years. Trust me, they're LOADED with insecurities. At the same time, they think nothing bad (physically) can happen to them. It's a weird age.

  11. what a great, great post. i love your voice and your clear-cut honesty. thanks for this.

    great blog!

  12. I think I want to always live like I'm 17 inside. I feel like teens ARE fearless. Heck I got married at 18, moved with my new hubby to another state that I'd never lived in before and had NO concerns that it was all going to work out just fine. I look at it NOW and I've become such a worry wort that there's NO way I could have done that again. I have to have everything planned, everything scheduled, every pro and con listed out. I definitely have lost that sense of fearlessness with my ripe old age of 22!

  13. Holly: True. But that's one of the beauties of that age and one of reasons we like to write for them, I'm sure.

    Elana: Weird but fun, eh?

    Tahereh: Thank you so much! You made my day. :)

    Steph: LOL! I guess that means you had to pass out of the teens fast, right? I'm just glad you had your grandparents there. When I moved to Provo @ 18 I went by myself and didn't know a soul.

  14. i surfed on in from Nisa's blog. i want to be fearless but seldom am.

    i live in the Phoenix area. nice to meet another Arizonan.

  15. I'm pretty fearful and anxiety-prone in general, but the protag in my new WIP is fearless, and it has been so much fun to write!

  16. I was fearless and reckless when it came to my own safety. I always believed it was because I had so many family responsibilities at a very young age and I was trying to fit in as much fun stuff as i could in very small windows of time.

    If I could go back it would be to 17. I would have done a lot of things pertaining to myself very differently.
    An age I would channel, 21.

  17. Michelle: Thanks for stopping by!

    Karen: Love that you can make a character so different from yourself! One of the signs of a great and versatile writer. :)

    Ann: That is so interesting! Even as teens our paths are so varying that it makes the human experience fascinating to me. And I would channel 20-21 too, if I could.