The Strange Species Called Teenagers
Posted by Kathryn Para
Whew! It’s Thursday already and I haven’t had a spare moment! Our road trip through the Kootenays has been a whirlwind affair punctuated by school visits, stunning scenery and huge laughs with my new friends, Ari and Bryan.
This is my first time with teens. To this point in my life I’ve managed to successfully avoid teenagers and when I realized that my part of the tour was aimed at grades 10-12, I had a few misgivings. My own memories of teen-aged-ness, well, not the best of memories. And what would I say to the next generation of writers? What would they hear?
I prepped and agonized and at the last minute someone suggested a writing exercise that I thought might be a useful add-on, in case things went quiet or the AV presentation didn’t work. At several schools this has been my best route to actually connecting with the strange species called teenagers. At one point, I responded to a young woman’s scenario by paraphrasing it so that she might better understand what kind of a story she was proposing through the exercise. Her face lit up and she gave me such a look of pleasure and gratitude. I was stunned. All this time I thought high school teachers must be slightly crazed to be in that environment of their own volition. Now I know the sweet reward of connecting with kids. I won’t forget that moment, ever.