Oh, how I wish I could learn life's lessons in 350 pages--like my characters.
What Jory (My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters) learns about accepting her appearance at the fictional age of 17, took me, oh, about 20 more years to figure out. I finally realized that 80-year-old me will think that 40-year-old me looks pretty great. Just like 40-ish me burst into tears upon finding an old high school photo. Why did I worry so much about my nose?!?!? What a waste of time, not to mention emotional energy.
Living in a multi-generational household hasn't been as easy--or funny--for me as it is for Polly (Swoon At Your Own Risk). Plus, I'm still figuring out things with my own father, well, maybe she is too. And I still worry too much like Kat in Jungle Crossing. Just this morning I spun my daughter's missing biology assignment into her future Netflix-watching, muddy-buddy-making slacker life in my basement--much to her eye-rolling annoyance.
Turning points, life lessons, those Oprah-esque "Aha!" moments take me decades, not months or even years to learn.
That's one reason I love to write YA--maybe my hard-earned lessons can help someone else take a short-cut. Letters from readers who tell me my books helped change their perspective or deal with a problem fill me with so much joy.
Because I'm still writing my own life story, one day at a time, lessons learned too slow, too often, beginning again and again and again.