A few years ago a car company called Oldsmobile tried to reach a younger clientele. They did it by saying, ‘It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile.’ Evidently it was, though, because it seems that not enough fathers bought it and their sons and daughters didn’t buy it either. In 2004, General Motors shut down the Oldsmobile brand. They had made the mistake of underestimating the kids of those fathers who used to buy Oldsmobiles.
The ‘adult’ part of Young Adult books.
But here’s the truth: You may be young, but you have to make adult decisions. The booksellers call you ‘young adults,’ They seem to emphasize ‘young.’ I want to emphasize ‘adult.’ You have to think, you need information, you need examples, you need encouragement, you need peers and adults who respect you for who you are and who assist you to become who you need to be to survive in today’s world.
I’m old. I like to think I’m just ‘older,’ but young adults would certainly say I’m old. I can’t begin to feel the way you do in the school and social media culture you inhabit. But I can give you information and examples. And I can be one of those adults who respects and encourages you. I admit––I won’t always ‘get’ you. But I’ll always believe that the problem is with me, not with you.
No such thing as a dumb question.
When I was a university professor, I told my students, “There’s no such thing as a dumb question.” If you feel puzzled or confused, even if you can’t exactly say what your question is, it’s still worth pursuing. So, in class, we often took a lot of time to work out just what the question was. Sometimes it was profound. Sometimes I had to go back to the drawing board to figure out what the answer was, if I could even do that. I discovered that if I couldn’t learn from my students, they couldn’t learn from me. So we built a learning community in which we all learned and grew together.
That’s what I’d like to do here. I’m providing information and examples in the form of novels and blog posts. The novels are of two sorts: what they call ‘fantasy,’ and what they call ‘history.’ But the fantasy I write has a historical basis, and the history I write often sounds fantastical.
The difference between fantasy and history.
Yet all fantasy is based on history. It takes the themes and memes that flow down to us from artifacts and historical records and amplifies some elements while diminishing others. And the histories we read are often ‘fantasy’ in that they represent a point of view only loosely based on what snippets of data can be found that support that point of view but rather on the ideologies that can be invoked by presenting ‘history’ in that way.
My fantasy is both based on history and embedded in it. My history is as fully founded on demonstrable facts as possible, and sometimes seems so unlikely to be untrue as to be categorized as fantasy. I’ve endeavored not only to present the truth in both genres, but also to present deeper truths that underlie them both.
Hopefully, taking you away from your twenty-first century daily grind, whether to a world someone else created or to a time and place in our world that no longer exists, will enable you to get the distance needed to think objectively. And, even better, will enable you to think for yourself.
Create your own understanding of the world.
You’re bombarded daily with invitations to accept someone else’s understanding of the world. Instead, create your own understanding. You’re regularly being coerced and intimidated into saying what some group or other wants you to say––and not saying what they don’t want you to say. Instead, examine facts for yourself and say what you understand to be true on the basis of your own examination and interpretation.
That’s what I want to help you do. And I’d like to hear from you. I’d like to hear from your teachers, bffs, not-so-bffs, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, too. Let’s get something going here where you can say what you feel, think what you think, and be safe in the process. You can reach all of what I’m putting on the web at gordon-saunders-writer.com. If you’re interested primarily in the posts on historical subjects, you can go to youngamerica.blog. If you just want to see the fantasy, go to verdurarocks.com.
I can’t wait to read what you have to say!