It may have been Ponyboy’s introspective, thoughtful nature or Johnny’s desperate desire to hold onto a smidgen of optimism despite constant turmoil, or maybe it was Dallas’s loyal heart that was well hidden behind the tough exterior accentuated by a leather jacket and cheap steel toe boots, but somehow my young son related to the emotions attributed to the Greasers in the book The Outsiders.
My mother was an elementary school librarian, and to me, that was the best job she could have held. Every day, she had unrestricted access to books, and that meant I had unrestricted access to books. All I had to do was ask for a title, and if a student didn’t check it out, she brought the book home to me. Who could ask for a better scenario?
This unfettered access to books developed in me a true love and appreciation for creative storytelling. As soon as I could read on my own, I focused on the pages that told of love, mystery, and teenage angst. Authors like Judy Blume, V.C. Andrews and Stephen King received my undivided attention. Oftentimes I would reread…and reread…and reread…the same story, such as The Outsiders, one of my all-time favorites. Once I learned S.E. Hinton was only 15 years old when she started writing the story about the classic battle between the haves and have-nots, somewhere in my subconscious I knew I would be a writer some day, too.
Passed On Through the Generations
Although my love for reading creative stories never waned, my desire to cultivate my own novel or short story never bloomed. Rather, I found myself drawn to the world of non-fiction, reporting on market trends, healthcare happenings, and interviewing newsmakers. I still get to write, just not original plots borne out of my imagination
Then I became a mother of a voracious reader. Since he was a toddler, my son loved stories of all kinds, from picture books to classic science fiction adventures told by the inventive Jules Verne to making up his own tales that entertained us at the dinner table. As my son grew older and broadened his reading library, I introduced some of the books my mother would bring home for me, including The Outsiders.
I was interested to see his reaction. Would it be different because he wasn’t a preteen girl? Would he connect to the story that was written nearly 40 years ago?
To my great joy, my son was captivated by Ponyboy and his relationship with his brothers and their friends as well as the complicated existence between societal groups and the individuals who wanted to break free from the “acceptable” expectations thrust upon them.
The thing that really struck me, however, is the fact that my son has pursued that creative area I didn’t. He has used his love of the written word and great storytelling to create his own fictional short stories and manuscripts. My son has taken his passion for reading and turned it into a creative outlet through his own writing endeavors.