Teens and Adults Write the Same Things

Have you ever gone digging through your old work?  Especially stuff you wrote in your teens? I was cleaning up my desktop, backing up files, tra-la-la, and I discovered a ‘poems’ folder that I hadn’t opened since high school.

Oh boy.

I cringed, and opened the file.  I read through some of them. They were simple, especially in terms of style and depth. The striking thing turned out to be the subject matter. Thematically they were all the same.

The things I write about now are more complex, long-winded versions of the same experience! The bad relationships in my stories all thrive–and are torn apart by–conflict. Sacrifice, bitterness, violence and the dry-eyed acceptance of loneliness were in almost every old poem I wrote.  That stuff seems typical of every high-school experience, but I realize that these sorts of themes are also still showing up in all my novels and short stories.  There’s something about that experience I’m still turning over in my hands.  It’s possible that every time I’ve been driven to write, from childhood until now, the trigger has remained the same. I sometimes wonder if lifelong immersion in one mode or another is healthy for a mind.  Do we do damage to our psyche by returning to the same themes; or do we write to stave off the cancer that consumes us from within?

When you look back at the body of your work, what do you think?

“The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.” ― Marcus Aurelius




2 thoughts on “Teens and Adults Write the Same Things

  1. razorbackwriteraus

    We are the same inside as we were at a younger age, it is only the packaging that ages. Sure, we pick up a few new words, and our style changes, but we pretty much write the same as we did in our youth. At least I do.

  2. margitsage

    I agree, and find it very interesting. I’m impressed by some of my high school poetry and flash fiction, when I think about who I was at the time. I feel like I’ve grown immensely, but there are definitely similar themes. Wonderful quote.


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