Putting A Painful Past to Good Use

I write for teens, so it’s important that I stay in touch with my teenage self. Now that my son is a teenager, I catch myself observing him sometimes as though I’m a behavioral scientist. But I also rely on memories of what it was like for me back in the day.

I say “back in the day” as though I have fond memories of high school—when actually my teenage years were a series of embarrassing events punctuated by flashes of terror. All those insecurities and fears, all that pressure to fit in and be liked. So why do I want to relive those painful experiences through my writing? 

Because I came out the other side, that’s why. Because for so long I had no control of my life but now I do. So, yeah, bad things happen to my characters, but I know they’ll learn something about themselves and come out stronger. Just as I did. Just as we all do. Reliving my awful teenage years isn’t about dredging up the past as much as it’s about celebrating what I have right now. This wonderful life. This life that is built on a wobbly foundation but is all the more durable because of it.

So do I regret my teenage years? Sometimes. But I embrace them too. And through my writing, I get to imagine myself better than I was. Tougher and stronger and smarter. In essence, I get to live vicariously through my writing, and since I’m in control of the words on the page, things always turn exactly how I want them. What could be better than that?

Melody Maysonet

Melody has been an English teacher, editor, and ghostwriter. Now she devotes most of her time to writing fiction for young adults. She lives in Coconut Creek, Florida, with her husband and son. Her debut novel, A Work of Art (Merit Press) is out in stores now.

2 Comments

  1. Megan Alder   •  

    Melody, you’re such an inspiration!!

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