In the small town where I grew up, all the kids from the outlying areas were bussed to one central elementary school for grades six and seven. Thus, at age 11, I went from my tiny, sheltered neighborhood school to a big, imposing brick building in the middle of town.
The kids in this new school seemed as tough as the building. They even swore in the hallways. (Gasp!)
I went to my locker on the first day and found a boy in front of it, talking to his friends. This boy was tall, athletic, and what my friend Suzanne would have called “gorgeous.” (Although, perhaps having been exposed to less hormone-leaching plastic, I really had no idea what she meant.)
What could I say to this intimidating boy leaning on my locker? “Excuse me,” couldn’t possibly be right. They didn’t talk like that at ALL at this new school.
So, I said “move.” And he said, “f*** off.” And I was horrified for the rest of my elementary school career.
All of which has very little to do with my weekend, except that I spent Sunday afternoon hanging out with a bunch of authors who are way cooler than I am. We were being filmed as part of a promotional video for CWILL writers and illustrators. And wow! These writers started doing segments of their school presentations, and I was amazed. They could talk about map-making, creature-drawing, kayak-tipping, and medieval tooth-brushing and capture my attention in 30 seconds or less.
All of which left me thinking, “I gotta learn to talk like the cool kids!”
(Side note… medieval tooth-brushing… apparently not that good.)