Sunday, January 6, 2013

In my mind I'm 16 +/- 1

"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

I 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?


  1. I've thought about this often. I am a 15-17 yr-old girl or an 11 yr-old boy. Depending on my mood. ^_^

  2. Great post. I find it easy to return to my younger years when I was the most green, and therefore, had the most life lessons to learn. That's probably why I enjoy writing for a younger audience. (Although of course, I need to avoid making my stories come across as preachy lessons, no that won't be any fun to read.)