I never had a summer romance.
Not for lack of wanting, wishing, hoping and, you know, stalking.
My high school diaries are full of detailed accounts of my well-researched, well-timed "chance" encounters with The Boy.
During school visits I share what I wrote on August 24, 1985. My friends and I woke up at 4:30AM and decorated our favorite boys' cars with mustard and whipped cream. Next I read the car-decorating scene from My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters. I like to show students that writing doesn't have to be perfect, or even good. It's full of misspellings, grammatical weirdness, and inside jokes that I can no longer explain. But that hastily-written passage gave me great material to mine decades later.
I rarely reread my diary entries. And I hadn't looked at my high school diaries until I started writing YA a few years ago. Oh, all that desperate boy craziness. All that wanting, wishing, hoping, and, yes, stalking.
But here's the surprise. Much older me saw a pattern in all that earning for the perfect summer romance: I wasn't ready. I liked boys who didn't like me. Boys liked me but I didn't like them. So much delicious drama. But little risk. I simply wasn't ready for a boyfriend.
I am enjoying a great romance, 27 years and counting, but it started in the cold, sweater-y month of November. But, hey, no complaints. I can always write about summer love!