On Being Childish

I’m fascinated with what happens to people as they age. Recently I read that women who experience dramatic hot flashes for a prolonged period are more prone to dementia and heart disease. Ugh!  Have I mentioned I’ve been suffering from hot flashes for the last fifteen years and there is no sign of this particular nuisance diminishing?

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However, that isn’t what this blog is about. Although the topic is somewhat related.  Now, y’all know me…I’ll get there. I seem to enjoy going the long way to connect the dots! There is a common myth that as one gets older, they become more childish. I say myth because the research suggests it doesn’t happen to everyone, but rather to those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s.

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I shouldn’t joke about either of those afflictions. They are serious and debilitating. There is, however, a fine line between what happens to all of us as we get older and the more pronounced side effects of those diseases. I do believe that to some degree, many of us take on more childish tendencies, or perhaps we just don’t care anymore how people perceive us.

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I can’t blame my childishness on the advancement of years. In all honesty, I’ve exhibited adolescent behavior non-stop since adolescence. I’d like to think that it is simply me keeping myself youthful, but others might not agree. So, what’s the evidence you ask?

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I laugh at movies that are typically designed for 13-year old boys: The Hangover, Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, etc.  Fart jokes are funny to me. I’ll admit that. Crude sexual humor will sometimes elicit a chuckle when innuendos are present. And, I’ll offer my own sexual innuendoes. I titter (te he he yes I chose that word purposely) when my books hit 69 on the top 100 and feel the need to always post when that happens. However let me be clear, I do draw the line at any joke that would advance rape culture or oppression of women. Those are not funny to me. Neither is name-calling. That type of childishness is not okay.

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My childishness is not limited to enjoying the kind of movies that adolescent boys seek out. I admit to reading all of the Twilight series and liking it. They are definitely favorites of adolescent girls. Don’t judge. They were, in my opinion, a breath of fresh air regarding the depiction of vampires. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t dig a sparkly vampire? Fortunately, I get to live smack dab in the middle of Twilight territory. I’m going to admit to being somewhat influenced by Twilight when I wrote my debut novel, Love Forever, Live Forever, because I wanted my vampires to be able to walk in the daylight. They weren’t sparkly, but their ability to walk in the daylight came with a small price. A dilemma, so to speak. You’ll have to read the book to figure that one out.

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Despite not necessarily being thrilled about this because I have other issues with my father; I am my father’s daughter. He often talks about being a grown-up Peter Pan. He never wants to act his age and he doesn’t.  To get a rise out of my mother, he had a sign made that stated: “The family that farts together, stays together.” My mother hated the word, fart. She viewed it as the crudest word possible, worse than fuck if you can believe that. I never knew why.

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Personally, I believe there are many advantages to childlike behavior or reverting to our childhood. Let me name a few:

  • Children see the joy in everything.
  • Small children get to take naps in the middle of the day.
  • Small children haven’t learned to hate yet.
  • Children can still be awed.
  • Children have more curiosity and enhanced creativity.

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When adults are asked about brainstorming the number of ways a person can reach the top of a tree, they come up with maybe five to ten ways, while children can think of fifty or more.  For this reason, I believe as writers we should develop that inner child and not let it wither and die on the vine. The more childlike behaviors we can adopt, the more creative our stories become.

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I think some of this playfulness and maybe regressiveness comes out in my characters. They will taunt one another like adolescents. Some readers find that funny, others don’t appreciate sophomoric humor as much as I do. Enough readers have enjoyed that brand of humor to allow me to write what I want and include that playful side. Not all my books have those kinds of characters and yet I think I enjoy those characters the most, especially as they complement a character who is more stoic or serious. That is not to say, I don’t also write about serious issues, but in my opinion, humor always has a place, lest we take ourselves too seriously. There is a big difference between childishness and foolishness.

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I’ve been told I’m very creative in the development of my stories. Do you think they’re saying I’m immature? I credit my childishness. If you want to check my creativity out for yourself…click any of the links below.

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