beth_shulman: (book: meg powers)
Not long ago a kid in a group I was speaking to raised his hand and said, "Where do you get all that stuff?"

I looked out into a library full of cross-legged floor-sitters, their eyes wide, mouths agape, all wondering the same thing, their classmate having put his finger on their second most pressing question - the first being, of course, "How much money do you make?" I pointed to them all, and I smiled, and I said, "You. You're where I get all that stuff." 

The expressions didn't change. They weren't buying it.

"Look," I said, "what do you think I do, make up all this stuff? I get it from you. I get it from the me that used to be you. From my own kids, your age-mates. For my first two books, I didn't even have to look outside my own house."

And I told them how I found Space Station Seventh Grade early one morning in my lunch bag, my fried chicken having been reduced to bones by one or more of the six sleeping angels upstairs. I told them that the warfare between Megamouth and El Grosso in Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush ... was nothing compared to the real battles between Molly and Jeffrey in my own house.

I pointed to them again. "You're the funny ones. You're the fascinating ones. You're the elusive and inspiring and promising and heroic and maddening ones. Don't you know that?"

I looked over the faces. No, for the most part, they did not know. And just as well. How regrettable if they did know, and thereby ceased to be themselves. 

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