Some things in life are made for the young. Training wheels, for instance. Dungarees. Thinking Captain America was a half-way decent movie...
And some things are for the not-so-young. Some are boring - like taxes, telling people about soup recipes you found online, paying for petrol - and some are worth the wait - the freedom to live as you want, to own your own things, and Die Hard.
|You know you would.|
Whatever the distinction, age changes how we relate to things, and that includes art, and books.
I'm reading EIGHT DAYS OF LUKE right now, and it's a cracking read, and did a brilliant job of filling a lazy Sunday afternoon before a thunderstorm rolled in. I often share what I'm reading on Twitter, and this time I got the following interesting comment;
Bet you're wishing you read it when you were 12!
Know what? It's true. I love the book, but younger me would have loved it in a different way. Fiercer, probably, and simpler.
A friend recently confessed to trying to re-read Catcher in the Rye and giving up. 'I remembered it from when I was a teenager,' he said. 'It seemed so great then. Now I just find the whole thing mildly annoying...'
If there was ever a book you're supposed to read as an angsty teen, it's that one. Adults re-reading it often seem to come to the same conclusion.
So what's the line between children's books and adults reading children's books?
I don't know.
It's probably too personal for any general explanation. For me, books I read when I was younger were realer and rawer because they were things I wanted to do, but couldn't. Now, the same books are things I enjoy, but know to be impossible, and my adult brain takes care of the rest.
It's not disbelief - few kids actually believe they'll find Narnia / get that Hogwarts letter / [insert dream here] - but they still allow their thoughts to wander, and they ask that wonderful, magical question: What if? What if? What if?
Working on my own books, I would love to think adults could read the story of EREN and enjoy it as much as children. I'm sure some will. I'm sure some won't. But I do want to have a story, a book, that kids can read when they're kids and still remember when they're a bit more grown up.
I think it's a good aim - to write something people will read, but also to write something people will read more than once.
So that's my aim for this week, and the next, and the next, and the next and etc. Writing that speaks to people as people.
I think it's a good - if high - aim to have.
If you're writing a book, what's your aim at the moment?