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 Maysonet has been an English teacher, editor, columnist, and ghostwriter. A self-proclaimed geek, she loves reading fantasy, but prefers writing edgy, real-world fiction—as evidenced by her first novel, A WORK OF ART (Simon Pulse), which received a Starred Review from Kirkus, won the 2016 Hoffer Award for best fiction, and was named a Best Book of 2015 by YA Books Central.

2 Comments

  1. Megan Alder   •  

    Melody, you’re such an inspiration!!

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