Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Think I'm a Box Screamer . . .

. . . Symptoms? I seldom scream aloud. I seldom give in to huge emotions – no weeping and wailing (Okay, weeping, but only quietly and mostly in private or in a dark movie theater.); no shouting (heaven forbid! What loss of control!); no beating a fist against the wall (would probably hurt, besides, it’s my head I visualize against that wall.); no ripping something apart with my bare hands ( I have a hard enough time shredding the mail.); no mooning someone despite serious provocation (would probably cause permanent blindness in the recipient, and permanent guilt for me.)

But the most definitive symptom? My favorite YA books are screamers. Emotional screamers. They throw off the lid and shout it all out. Like Gayle Forman’s “Where She Went.” Holy Cow! The minute I opened the front cover, anger and angst roared out and shook me. Or Simone Elkeles’ “Leaving Paradise.” Wow! Anger and such incredible longing filled those pages. And Stephanie Meyers’ Twilight series. Whether your Team Edward or Team Jacob, the emotions in these books are loud and seductive.

How did I become a box screamer? Sad to say, I've been programmed by life. School and family and friends and bosses don’t want to deal with an overabundance of in-your-face drama 24/7. Even strangers shy away from messy, public emotions. Life has trained me to tone it down, to keep it under a lid.

But those emotions are still there. Still inside me. I connect with them every time I read a good YA. And when I write, they flow from my heart to my fingers to the keyboard. I scream them down on the page: the joys and sorrows, the vulnerabilities and strengths, the hopes and fears, the yearnings and failings, the dreams and despairs. They scramble for life, until it’s time to find the lid, time to close them back inside.

What about you? Are you trapped in a box? Have you kicked off your lid lately?

14 comments:

The Jammie Girl said...

Oh, my! Kicking off my lid sounds really fabulous and freeing right now! I'm always afraid that once I start I won't be able to stop in time. Maybe I need to practice. . .

Joan said...

My lid is always at least half off....I'm a very PASSIONATE person, very emotive for good and bad :D

So much so that my very patient friends put up with me trying to pry THEIR lid off!!

Lisa Tapp said...

Dear Jammie, you're friends will help with that. When you start getting those 'concerned but distant' looks, and they don't stand so close to you anymore, you know it's time to find the lid.

And Joan, a lid half off means you're always letting off a little steam. Probably a healthier way to live.

Thanks for stopping by.

Kristen Simmons said...

This is true for me too! Sometimes I feel like the truest, most organic version of myself is the one that appears on the page - and somehow we call that fiction!

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

I heard someone say once that good writing is like mainlining emotions. So true!

jo robertson said...

Great blog, Lisa! I think you captured the essence of YA books. Emotion and angst and almost uncontrollable passion (for everything, not just guys LOL) that seems interminable.

Especially to the moms of those teens!

Kristin Lenz said...

Maybe that's one reason why so many adults are drawn to YA novels - it's a way to reconnect with all those powerful emotions. One of my recent favorite YA reads, bursting with passion and longing: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.

Lisa Tapp said...

Hi Kristen. Aren't you glad you found writing? Sometimes it does feel like a journey of self-discovery.

Mainlining emotions - that's a great expression. Thanks Vicky!

Jo, do you have teens? You sound so familiar with all those gushing emotions.

Kristin, I'm going to have to look up The Sky is Everywhere. I love finding new YA voices.

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's so true that our lives are so under control emotionally. Like Kristin said, I think that's why we like the drama of YA so much.

Saumya said...

Ah, I relate to this post SO much! The other night, my boyfriend commented on how I've been so much more emotional the past few days. I've also been writing more. Coincidence? No! I love that writing allows us to release and relearn. Great blog! I'm excited to be a new follower :)

Katie McGarry said...

I think this is why I write YA. As a teenager, your emotions spike 100% in all directions. When you're angry - you're angry. When you're happy - you're happy. Thanks for the post Lisa!

Lisa Tapp said...

Great insight, Saumya. Now that I think about it, my emotional state tends to be louder when I'm spending more time writing. Hmmm. Guess that lid's not as secure as I think.
Natalie, that's what hooked me on YA, and why I write it.
Thanks for stopping by.

Colette Ballard said...

Great insight, Lisa. I love how writing YA allows you to deal with emotions you thought you'd buried long ago and then incorporate them into your story.

Karen Ender said...

Lisa, How true that perceptions of ourselves or others often keeps us from doing what we want. I often wonder why it seems to be okay when some individuals emote so often in life and that's just them and if I did it -somehow I would be ready for the romper room and a nifty little white coat with tricky sleeves that meet in the back. So mainlining emotions in YA is a sweet way to let those emotions out. I say if you want to scream - do it and then write it down.

Loved your article - sorry I didn't see it before now.