I guess writing teen fiction makes it easy for me to insist that my more juvenile tendencies are solely due to all the “research” required in order to capture the teen voice.
Beginning all of my sentences with, “Oh my gawd!”-? “Research.”
Attending the midnight showing of Twilight and squealing when Edward came on screen? No question. Definitely falls under “research.”
Blatantly hinting for a new iPod and Ugg boots last Chrismukkah, then jumping up and down in excitement when I got them? So obviously in the “research” category.
Braces at forty??? Please. Just how far do you think I’d go?
Apparently, that far.
And while I’m told there are plenty of adults who get braces—according to one orthodontist I saw, adults make up a good amount of their patient load—all I could think as I gazed around a room purposely decorated to make it seem as though we were sitting inside a ginormous aquarium is—Really? And is that why you offered me a game of pogs when I checked in?
Seriously. The only adults I’ve seen in there so far are the ones chauffeuring their kids to and from their appointments. And while you’d think it would be research heaven to sit inside an aquatic themed room with a giant orange fish eyeballing me from its place on the wall and a seemingly never ending supply of pogs and Teen People—well, I’m sorry to say it’s really not all it’s cracked up to be.
Because the truth is, I feel kind of silly. Like I’ve taken this whole YA research thing way too far. And now, after hours of examinations, forms, and x-rays, it’s beginning to feel like it’s too late to turn back.
But that’s exactly what I was planning to do the other day when my husband and I stopped by Burger Bar on our way home from Las Vegas. I was cutting into my turkey burger with a knife and fork—(my front teeth don’t meet, making them useless for biting, tearing, eating, and just about everything else but smiling for photographs)—when it struck me. The epiphany. A true, Oprah style, light-bulb moment. Because the moment I brought my fork to my mouth, I gazed down at my plate covered with tiny bite sized pieces of hamburger and thought: Oh my gawd! Talk about juvenile!
And that’s when I decided to go for it. No whining, no complaining (well, maybe a little), and definitely no looking back. I mean, so I’ll spend the next year as a metal mouthed brace face, so what? Next time I eat a hamburger (and I average about one a year) I’ll eat it with dignity. And pride. And hopefully without a fork and a knife.
Besides, think of all the research it’ll provide!
But even though there’s no doubt my next protagonist will sport a mouthful of shiny metal braces, I’ll be kinder to her than life was to me—she’ll wear them as a teen, I won’t make her wait until she’s an adult!
So how about you—just how far are you willing to go in the name of “research”? And do you have any tips on wearing braces??
Alyson Noel is the author of seven novels. Her upcoming, THE IMMORTALS series, begins with EVERMORE on 02.03.09, followed by BLUE MOON on 08.04.09, and three more untitled books for 2010. You can visit her at: http://www.alysonnoel.com/