Tuesday, March 3, 2009
The YA Novel I Will Never Write, But You Can
The other day I reminded my oldest that he had a lot of homework to do. Then I turned to my middle guy and reminded him that he had a project to work on. My oldest, Christopher, gave me one of those long, bored sighs, and said, "Gawd, you get so worked up over school. Everything matters to you."
My middle guy knew enough to go into his room and pretend to be working on his project (thanks to Vista, you can now happily keep your myspace page open while putting up the Romeo and Juliet notes when Mom walks by) My youngest followed him and whispered, "Wait for me." These actions left me alone with my oldest.
"It would be nice if you cared about...I don't know. School. Getting a part time job. Saving tigers. Something."
"You know what your problem is, Mom?"
"Oh, I can name three..."
"No, no, it's because you forget about Nibiru all the time."
Nibiru. A club? An Egyptian girlfriend? A drug?
"Who is Nibiru?"
"You are serious. You actually don't know."
"I don't. But I learned how to text. So I'm trainable. Who is Nibiru?"
"It's the planet that will end the world." He gazes at me with a mix or horror and fear exactly like my geometry teacher did once when he looked at my worksheet. "Mom, everyone knows about Nibiru. It's everywhere. How could you not know?"
So I researched it. It took about five minutes. These are my scientific findings based on the kids in my kitchen and YouTube:
1. My husband now thinks I'm nuttier than he once did.
2. It's based on a Sumerian prophecy. I happen to love the Sumerians, and not just for their pottery shards.
3. Middle graders are largely familiar with this idea, but they call it Planet X.
4. My guess is that it's hooey. Slick, sellable hooey, but hooey nonetheless.
5. The History Channel endorses the idea. The History Channel. And I used to take them seriously.
It's spreading like mono among seventh through twelfth graders as it has all the ideas that appeal to teens: doomsday, renewal, apocalyptic imagery, prophecy fulfillment, only a few will survive, boiling seas, the reality of mysticism.
It's not my cup of tea, but when I brought it up in front of a group of teens this weekend, they resoundingly said, "If you wrote about Nibiru, we would read it."
So you YA folks looking for ideas, here's the YouTube link to inspire you. Somebody should write this book.