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Monday, August 8, 2011

The 3 Words A Writer Never Wants to Hear

I’m having a senior moment. Right about now I feel 30 years older than I am. Even the realization that I don’t wear mom jeans doesn’t help.

(Although, the weird thing about mom jeans is that the wearer usually doesn’t know she’s wearing mom jeans. Trust me, I’ve tried to re-jean my mother enough times to understand that mom jean–lovers are oblivious to the momliness of their jeans. So I can’t be certain my jeans aren’t momish.)

So, I was chitchatting with The Man’s 13-year-old cousin about teen shows at a family get-together. She’s hooked on Pretty Little Liars (which, by the way, is a somewhat addicting show that makes me wish the costume designer would be my BFF and dress me every day), so I brought up the books. I mean the books are way better than the TV show. Obviously.

She didn’t read the books. Which, whatever. Sometimes I don’t read a book if I’ve seen a movie first—especially if the movie makes me regret spending two hours and $25 at the theater. But then my sister-in-law returned the Hunger Games trilogy that she had borrowed. Naturally, I asked The Man’s 13-year-old cousin if she wanted to borrow them.

And then she looked at me, shrugged, and said, “I don’t read. I mean, besides magazines.”

That’s when I aged a few decades. Because suddenly I thought: Kids today, with their video games and Internet and TV shows. What’s wrong with reading a book?
 Seriously guys, I was two seconds away from telling the story of how I used to walk uphill, both ways, through the snow and barefoot, to go to school. I probably would have mentioned that in my day reading was fun and exciting.

The thing is, convincing someone who doesn’t like to read to, you know, crack a book and imagine scenes instead of watching them is—how do I put it?—not as fun as it sounds. So after a few minutes I was all, “Sigh. This is just how things are. A lot of kids don’t read. Period the end.

But is it?

I mean, some kids read. Some kids love to read even if it makes them the nerd who chose a book over the 25th season of Survivor. So are those teens the majority or minority? And is there some sort of trend going on that I don’t know about—teens reading more or less than, say, 10 years ago?

I have no answers. I hope didn’t come to this blog for knowledge today. (For those who did: There are 206 bones in the human body. See? Free knowledge. You’re welcome.)

Anyhow, this older, wiser me has decided that if my book is published, my number one goal is to make someone who hates to read learn to love it. I mean, dream big or go home and such, right?

What do you think? Are more teens reading these days? Fewer? What about teens you know?

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