Monday, April 25, 2011

On The Intelligence of Teens- The Smartest Most Alive People on the Planet

There is this writer I love and have never met named M.T. Anderson. Perhaps you have heard of him? If not, you have now and must run to your nearest bookseller to buy a copy of any of his books. I suggest Feed and/or The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing. (His new book, The Game of Sunken Places, is out now and quite good, of course.)

Why do I love him? Because he is a gifted writer who takes writing seriously. Because he writes for young adults. Because his work elevates the genre to its best and highest level. A childless, bespectacled, Samuel Beckett-loving friend of mine told me to read Feed years and years ago and it changed my life and made me consider YA for the very first time.

I was poking around the internet and found his website- which I had never thought of looking for before. There's this whole speech he wrote On the Intelligence of Teens that made me weep with joy.

When I write I try not to think of my audience as being, like, teenagers. I know they are, but if I think about it too much I try to appeal to them a little too much, instead of writing a good book that will interest my kind of reader, at any age. I don't want to dumb down anything on total accident. I am not writing for children, for Christ's sake. I am writing for adults, that are young.

And I trust that teen readers are not dumb and are socially aware and do not live in a techno-centric culture vacuum.

Teenagers? I adore them. They are the smartest, most alive people on the planet.

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