. . . 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?