I've recently watched several episodes of Glee recently. You know, that one show that takes the high school experience and chronicles it. I was interested in it at first because I was a show choir junkie and love the song and dance thing. The first season was fun and frolic-y. This new season is--for lack of a better term--issue ridden. Drug use. Alcohol use. Indiscriminate sex. Teen pregnancy. Bullying. Yeah, it's still a funny and rollicking show, but kind of a downer. It reminded me of that "dark and edgy" thing that is so big in the YA book scene.
It makes me feel a little out of touch. High school wasn't full of that level of angst for me. I had some negative experiences, sure, and they could probably fuel some pretty decent contemporary stories. I just had a clean, decent, mostly boring kind of existence. I went to football games. I played volleyball. I was in the drama club. I knew people who got pregnant. I knew people who partied. It didn't feel like I was in the middle of a drama series. Maybe it's been long enough since I was in high school that I don't remember how it felt any more.
I was a sucker for the light-hearted story with a happy ending then. I still am. It's one reason why I write what I do. The whole point of a fairy tale is to get the happy ending. You kind of expect that the story will end a certain way. Granted, there is any number of things that can go wrong before you get to the happy ending. And maybe that is where the story becomes real.
Something like Glee or the really out there YA Books seem on the fringe of real to me. There's just too much of something there. I still read them and they definitely have a place in the world. But a little bit of shadow, or just a touch of an edge. That's where things feel the most real for me. That's what I remember experiencing in my own life.
In the end, we all have to write from our own perspective and experience. Mine is a pretty carefree and happy one. And that's okay.
So, friends. What was high school like for you? Do the things you experienced during your young adult years find their way into your writing?