I've been back at school for weeks now getting the library ready for students and staff. Like most people involved in education, I like the beginning of the school year. I like to see the sports teams in their pre-season workouts, reminding me of my own sweltering days on the field hockey field (minus, thankfully, the sweating and shin splints). The marching band rehearsed in the parking lot just outside my library. Students filtered through to pick up their schedules and compare teachers. As the smell of cut grass wafted into the building, I had the feeling that the world was filled with so much promise.
Working at a high school while writing YA Fiction is a terrific opportunity. I am often shot back to my own teenage years. At the high school where I used to work, faculty ate in the cafeteria with students and I was always pained on the first day of school watching freshman paralyzed as they try to figure out where to sit. Having those emotions right at the surface makes it easy for me to draw on them when I write.
As the groups of new ninth graders came through the library for their orientation tour, one of the teacher advisors asked me, “Can you imagine being a ninth grader today?” I replied that no, I wouldn't go back for the world. And it's true that I would not choose to relive my high school years. But imagine it? Yes. I do that every day.