Sesame Street gives me food for thought. My son watches Sesame Street rapt with attention every time I put a video in. Granted, this is a blessing as I often bring him to work and can leave him in the play room watching Elmo or Ernie for an hour or two while I attend to business. At home if I have to really get work done and my husband is not around, I can pop in a video and Malcolm will be relatively entertained for a bit. Sometimes though, I will sit and watch it with him, because truthfully I am curious. I watch Sesame Street myself as a child, and I wonder what exactly is its drawing power. What keeps an audience rapt? The curiosity extends to the realm of books as well. What keeps a reader rapt? Of the several stories I read to my son, the stories he really stops and listens to, the stories that have him crawling into my lap are Ginger Baby by Jan Brett and The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle. While on one note I think my son has very good taste, on another note I try to see what about these stories grabs him. Is it a repetative phrase he can identify? Or is it merely the inflections in my voice? The Very Busy Spider has several animal noises I imitate for him which makes him giggle delightfully. Not to mention Carle's illustrations are always fabulous. (He's my favorite ^^)
Okay so what are the equivalent for animal noises to a teenager? Up until this point, I had thought I chose to writer for an audience I could relate to. I am not that far gone out of adolescence, but really I am. Relatively, six years is not a long way from 18, but in that time I have earned a college degree, married, had a family, moved into my own abode, and I work a forty hour a week job. There is a vast amount of experience gained in six years after 18 versus say six years leading up to 18. It is that leap into the adult world which makes the difference and now I feel a bit out of my depth. Can I still find the animal noises? Can I write a book that holds a teenage reader as raptly as Sesame Street holds my son? Only one way to find out really. Start mooing and find out.