Sunday, April 12, 2009

How to Feel Dated, and Resolving to Write Something that Isn’t

blog23 I think of myself as pretty young, usually.  I just turned 38 this month. Aside from knees that sometimes make funny noises when I go up the stairs and maybe that time I pulled a muscle in my shoulder when I sneezed, I usually feel youthful.

But my kids seriously age me.

My son just turned 12 and got an Ipod for his birthday.  At first, I felt like the cool parent because (since I have my own Ipod), I knew how to charge it, get it recognized as a device by Itunes, sync it, and even download a song from his wish-list from the Itunes store. 

But then, something went wrong.  I clicked the wrong button and the Ipod started syncing to my playlist.  To my son’s utter horror and complete panic. 

“Mom!  What happened!?  What is this stuff?  Jimmy Buffett? Frank Sinatra?  Who are these guys?  How do you get this stuff off?”


One day my son didn’t know who Mr. Spock was.  Sigh.  But I just saw a trailer for a new Star Trek movie.  Thank goodness…he’ll end up getting my dated pop culture references.

When I rented The Muppet Movie, my children didn’t watch it.  Not even the seven year old. 

I didn’t get very far with my evil plan to make them watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or The Nutty Professor, either.

I had slightly better luck when I introduced the kids to I Love Lucy.  They seemed to really find it funny.  My son seemed baffled by Leave it to Beaver although my seven year old watched it for a bit. I really want to see if The Brady Bunch holds up, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Some of the books I enjoyed when I was a child didn’t go over so well with my son.  I wanted him to like “The Great Brain” series, but couldn’t seem to get him into them.  But he loved Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and enjoyed A Wrinkle in Time and The Wizard of Oz. I am just about to introduce my daughter to Nancy Drew.  But I want it to go well!  I will be seriously disappointed if she doesn’t like Nancy.  I know that’s awful, but somehow it’s really important to me.  Luckily, they’ve updated Nancy a bit, so I may start with one of the modern ones and not Secret of the Old Clock

I really shouldn’t be too upset.  My kids have enjoyed true classics like Alice in Wonderland and The Wind in the Willows. And they’re loving the new, modern classics like Harry Potter.  Their music isn’t very obnoxious (okay, sometimes Hannah Montana may grate a little, but it’s not all bad.)

I’m not aspiring to write anything that holds up as well as my favorite classic literature.  I’m no Jane Austen.  But I don’t want readers to pick up a used paperback of one of my mysteries in seven or eight years and snicker over dated references.  So I won’t be mentioning our current economic crisis.  And I won’t be talking about specific “new” technologies that will go through several generation changes in the next few years.  Some things….humor and genuine emotion do seem to transcend time.   It took my kids’ enjoyment of I Love Lucy to help me realize that.                                                   

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