"Old age is a special problem for me because I've never been able to shed the mental image I have of myself--a lad of about nineteen."
--E.B. White, on his 70th birthday
am not 70, but I think many of those who write for young people
recognize something in this quotation. We seem to have a mental age
setting to which we can easily return, even if our daily lives are spent
at a much older age. That mental age is the sweet spot for our stories,
and our protagonists are often that age. For me, that age actually
stretches over three years: the ages 15 to 17. I can easily call up my
mindset from 19-21 also, but until recently there was a much smaller
audience for such books.
Is there an age to which you find it
easy to return in your mind? Not just to remember, but to relive? To
recall and feel again the way you saw the world, the things you cared
about, the fears and ambitions you had then?