This is not a post about Millennials or Generation Z. When I wrote "Youths" in the title, I was referring to individuals under the age of 15, and I'm only hedging on that because I can't remember how old Liam is, although he is still in middle school, so I know I am more than safe with that age range. The other young person is Ramona, who is not yet eight and a half years old.
So, jumpstarted by youths. I could say "inspired," but "jumpstarted" is more accurate. I just had my car battery replaced, and Warren had to jumpstart me on two different occasions just before that, so that sound of turning the ignition key and hearing the power surge on is spot on.
Ramona first. Ramona my oldest grandchild, Ramona the amazing. After months of irregular video chats, complicated by busy schedules, online schooling, activities, family matters, and time zone differences, to name a few factors, she and I now chat online on Wednesday afternoons (my time) as Wednesday is the weekday her online school classes are the shortest. As has always been the case with Ramona, she hits the conversational ground running and we never know where that talk will lead. It is a blast.
During our most recent talk, we started off talking books. Ramona reads a lot of fantasy, especially if it features dragons. She is enthralled with the Wings of Fire series and sometimes we explore tangential threads to that series, including dragonflies of the genus Pantala, also known as rainpool gliders, which Ramona immediately connected to the Rainwings in the series and drew comparisons between the characteristics of the dragonfly (I read them aloud) and the dragons.
She then segued to a "chapter book" she is writing. She wanted to read some of it to me, but it is packed away in preparation for her family moving (today, in fact). However, she recited (or pulled up on her iPad) a list of the characters and ran through them quickly. I then shared with her that I was writing a novel, but I had not worked on it in months (well, years).
Ramona bounced straight up. "What? You're writing one? What is it about?" I told her it was a novel about her completing a quest with the help of Aunties Jenna and her little brother. She beamed when I said it was about her. "Read some of it to me," she demanded.
Well, what could I do with a command request like that? I got my manuscript (which is always, always setting out) and told her I would read her the prologue, after asking her if she knew what a prologue was. Polite eye roll. Yes, she was very familiar with prologues (and correctly explained it to me) as well as epilogues (the same), adding, patiently, "I know all the logues."
So I read it to her.
There was a split second of silence, then an outburst. "That's good! Read more."
I read a little more, with Ramona asking questions, then told her I haven't finished it and haven't been working on it.
Ramona cut me no slack.
"You need to finish it."
After we finished talking, I told Warren about reading some of the novel (which he has not read) to Ramona and her response. Then I added, "I want to go back to it and see it through. I thought it was just a discarded idea, but now I feel ready to tackle it again."
Ramona jumpstarted me.
The second jumpstart was with Liam, the middle-school aged son of my friend Cecelia. I have known Liam since before he went to kindergarten. Recently, Liam got both a Facebook page and a new camera, and has been posting photos on his page.
Liam has a good eye. Several of the adults in his Facebook world have said that to him, including me. It's one of those intangible "I know it when I see it" qualities; Liam has it.
I have written before about my love of photography. When I was Liam's age, I started thinking about whether I could be a photographer; National Geographic was my goal. I set that career path aside long ago, but I still love photography and cameras and seeing what others are doing in the field. I have a great camera; I mean to use it more, but, like the writing (all writing, not just the novel), it gets set aside too easily.
Yesterday Liam posted some of his latest work. It was really, really good. I had my same reaction: Liam has a good eye. (And you bet I told him that on Facebook.) I had a second reaction, which I did not post but came naturally: I miss photography.
Which is why when I saw the morning sun lighting up the kitchen, particularly the pot of beans on the stove, I took this photo, then posted it on Facebook with the comment, "Liam, you are totally responsible for this shot."
Because he was. Like Ramona, his enthusiasm for photography jumpstarted my too often dormant love of it. Because of that surge of energy, I saw the plain pot and the sun and the day entirely different.
Jumpstarted by the young ones. What a gift.