Last night I found myself sitting next to a young woman with blue hair and a Minotaur bag clutched in her hand. Let’s call her Ramona. The Minotaur bag was the icebreaker. My son and I love that shop.
Soon Ramona showed us the graphic novels she’d just purchased. I wondered if it was too late to write to Santa to ask for them.
Over the course of a delayed flight she told me she was on her way home from Japan, via a stopover in Melbourne. During her time in my home city she’d caught up with mates and gone exploring abandoned buildings. She showed me photos.
We talked about YA fiction and found common ground. We’re both fans of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. She’s about to tackle John Green’s Paper Towns. I tried to plug some Australian authors. (Not many of us have ONE MILLION PLUS Twitter disciples like Mr Green, people. Aussie authors NEED LOVE TOO.) Sorry, momentary etiquette fail.
Like most teenagers, Ramona doesn’t really know what she wants to do after finishing Yr 12. She’s considering an unusual career path, rather than further studies. I can imagine the conversation with a Careers Guidance teacher going a little like this:
“Have you thought about what you’re going to do after school, Ramona?”
“Excellent. Have you filled out your tertiary course application?”
“Um, I’m not sure I want to go to uni. I’m thinking of being one of those people who cleans up crime scenes after the body is taken away.”
“Oh. OK. I … probably can’t help you with that one…”
“No worries… It’s OK. I’ve heard it pays well – $400 an hour or something. And jobs are always coming up because not many people last long. Something to do with the maggots. And the smell.”
This morning I went for a run and found myself pondering this much neglected blog. I’d been planning two posts before the year’s end: a review of 2011 and a piece of flash fiction, the latter upholding a tradition of short Christmas stories for this site. The intentions remain firm but my year end review is dedicated to ‘Ramona’.
Why? Because next year I want to find that sense of adventure again. To take risks and write without fear. To shake off the shackles of doing what is safest – and expected – and see where my wanderings lead me.