Friday, August 6, 2010

For the Girl in Me

I wanted to begin this blog with a picture - I found the perfect one, of a teenage girl reading, but you may have noticed that I'm new to blogging an haven't quite mastered the tecchy aspects of it yet, so bear with me. It might take a little while till I get the hang of it.
In the meantime, imagine a picture of a young girl reading, and read on...
Did you know that in a 7-year period every single cell in your body replaces itself? Well, it's true - and it raises an interesting question: If you're made up of cells, all of which individually die long before you do, then what makes you you? Are you the same you you once were, and if not, then who are you?
Consider this: People suffering from Alzheimer's get disoriented and literally lose their sense of self because they lose their memory. Even more confusing - memory is said to reside in each and every cell in our body, rather than a single specific area in the brain. So it exists at a cellular level as well as at a mental level, and it would seem that new cells come complete with ready-made memories. All of which is just a roundabout way of saying that you are the sum of your experiences, and memory is what gives you your sense of self.
My point? Simply that who you are now consists almost entirely of who you have been. Once you have experienced something it's with you forever.
I have been many things. I was once a baby, then a child, then a young adult, then a young mum etc. etc. And my point is, in some level I am still all those people. They are all an integral part of me.
Writing is a wonderful way to process your memories - to understand more about who you are, and who you have been. So when I write YA, I'm writing for the teenage girl who lives within me. Who do you write for?


  1. I love discussions like this. Clearly our identity is not merely a physiological being. I think memory is a lovely way to shape ourselves. But suppose someone's memory got wiped - do you think they could potentially become an entirely different person - personality, interests, hobbies, etc? Or do you think their identity would remain intact?

    I write for the teenage girl that I currently am! :) My characters, in some form or another, are people that I either want to know and be friends with (the "good guys") or they're the ones I hope to never meet (the villains).

  2. Thanks, Lila. What an interesting question you pose. I don't think their memory would remain intact. I think they'd be floundering and unsure of who they really are. But I also think think there's an essence to each individual that precedes memory and remains a part of them always, in every circumstance.

    I'm looking forward to meeting your characters!