What Connected Fiction Is and How It Can Help Bridge the Disconnect Between Teens and the Significant Adults/Elders in Their Lives
Few things are more precious than the imagination of a child, what captures and indeed captivates it. From the imagination of youth, all things are possible; all things come to fruition. To that end, what fuels, feeds and fosters such an impressionable and malleable entity should be vetted, appraised, filtered, and most of all shared by the guardians of that said imagination – parents, teachers, elders…
Teens, by their very stage of development – their imaginations are undergoing expansion and evolution – require more, something I call the Oliver Twist Dynamic. We should rise to their need. We must. Their wellbeing, our overall harmonious and balanced existence, demands it – that is, more….
Connected Fiction is a new concept. I’m all too aware I’m treading on undiscovered territory. Call me a pioneer, but I’m up to the task. I have a vested interest as a mother, and I belong to a wider community of mothers and parents. The teen years are challenging, but they should not be fraught with anima. What I’ve discovered is that the more honest you are about your physical reality, the better for everyone. Am I an expert? Absolutely not. I’m still learning. But one thing’s for certain: I remember. I remember being a teenager, very vividly. Another thing’s for certain: a career in medicine is a boon. It’s a very intimate way of interfacing with honesty, life-and-death honesty – yours and the patient’s. It has refined my view of the world beyond what I thought possible, beyond what I now call my limited intellectualized imagination, lost in large nonfiction texts and scientific facts. Been there. Done that. Fiction is the next frontier, maybe the final frontier. A career in medicine, along with motherhood, has been instrumental in the development of my mental heart. I brought my mind. Brought my heart, sometimes a little surplus of it. They would be connected in the kiln of long hours, late nights, moving histories, and phenomenal mentors.
From this immaculate conception, Connected Fiction was birthed – a way to interface with challenging themes and equally challenging stories told through the voices of compelling characters. Have I met them before? Yes, they are vaguely familiar to me, and to my alarm and horror, they smoke and drink, some heavily. They are irreverent and angelic. They are me – every incarnation that I have faced or been yet to face in the here and now, possibly the very distant past and the foreseeable future. I therefore do not a fashion a story as I hover above it, celestial. I’m deeply submerged in it, sometimes drowning in my own self-awareness, sometimes floating with a dreamy smile, perhaps one of relief. All this I humbly gift the reader.
Teenagers are far more aware of inauthenticity and inconsistencies in our rhetoric as adults than we give them credit. They are not being challenging for challenging’s sake. They are testing your credentials to continue governing, to be guardians, to be custodians of their imaginations, in the same way that the most challenging of patients takes a physician to higher realms of expertise. They’ve shown up to make you better, take you higher; and that road is a rough-hewn path at times. Whatever you didn’t say, didn’t reveal, didn’t reconcile, didn’t overcome, they will command you to review it and gift them a full disclosure – they’ve come of age and their imaginations are hungry to be fed with truth. In medicine, we would call this process ‘audit’. They are the auditors, extractors and scales of our own awareness, our unfettered consciousness – as they should be. It’s why they’re here.
Connected Fiction is a prescription that I write to help one along. My deliberate words in dried ink, to be recontextualized for one’s own experience. Characters that make one smile, grimace, gawp, even wish for their swift demise. The themes are relevant enough to inspire or even trigger The Big Talk, whatever The Big Talk means for one’s own unique life and the impressionable lives of those we love. It’s a big ask. It should be. We are here to refine an imagination, not remodel or reshape it. Incidentally, teens do the same to us. It’s why I write. It’s why Connected Fiction is here. You don’t have to agree, just consider.
© 2019 IC Blackman. All rights reserved.