Sunday, October 26, 2014

Teens and Horror: A Perfect Marriage

When it comes to horror, Hollywood knows teens are an easy kill (pun intended).  Look how they flock to the theaters to spend an evening with Michael, Freddy, and the freaky Ring girl who lives in VCR’s.  And unlike their curmudgeonly, adult counterparts, teens don’t thumb their nose at sequels, especially when it comes the trinity of slice and dice: Halloween, Friday the Thirteenth, and Nightmare on Elm Street.  Compound that with their new penchant for torture porn like Saw, Hostel, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and it’s easy for us adults to shake our heads and go Hmmmm.

So why are teens so disproportionately attracted to the adrenaline rush?  Why the insatiable thirst for blood and guts? Reflecting back on one’s own adolescence, it’s clear why. 

There is an undeniable parallel between a horror and adolescence.  Imagine the monster and then imagine it being the angst of adolescence itself – a metaphor for all the anxieties associated with that six-year time gap between childhood and adulthood.  When teens watch horror, they live vicariously through the protagonist.  And while they writhe and scream in their seats, they’re experiencing a personal connection – their own need to survive and conquer on a deep psychological level.  

Of course the odds are stacked against the hapless cast.  They will either succumb or conquer the Big Bad.  And just like Michael and Freddy, Adolescence comes after teens with a vengeance, leaving no prisoners.  It’s just they and Pubescence Personified alone in the Alley of Adolescence, like the blonde girl in A Nightmare on Elm Street, running away pointlessly as Freddy runs his knife fingers up against the walls.  Parents can’t help.  Friends can’t help.  Even the environment is impotent.  Those safe confines of home, school, and the suburban neighborhood no longer protect.  Adolescence rules and hungers for the teenage immortal soul!  But with a little knowledge, skill, and courage, the teenage years can be dealt with sans the bloody sequel.    

So next time you see the walking hormonal hoards lined up to see the next Paranormal 15, root for them!  After all, everyone wants to be the hero of their own adventure.  

An Excerpt from the Award-Winning Cheerage Fearage

Fly high and Die!!
The silver moon threw light on the two girls as they eagerly peeled off their clothes, tossing them in heaps on the wooden dock.  They jumped off into the vast lake, giggling and squealing at the shock of its coldness as the dark water swallowed up their tanned, limber bodies.

Although fierce competitors on the school’s most exclusive faction, the two girls were the best of friends with much in common.  They ran with the same elite crowd, dated the same square-jawed jocks, and chose the same stylish trends to be mindlessly imitated by featureless masses.  Quite simply, they were perfection personified coupled with a “rules-don’t apply-to-us” attitude that even the teachers chose not to challenge - the outcome resulting in unequivocal classroom suicide.

“Nervous about tomorrow?” asked the sandy blonde with an I-know-better grin.

 “Yeah, right,” shot back the redhead.  “It’s in the bag, sister.  Fly high or die.”

 “You know I love you best, right?"

 “Of course.  It’s you and me forever.”

They traded playful splashes and squeals until without warning, the blonde gripped the redhead’s neck taking her under.  She held down the thrashing body, welcoming the newfound power and control that had evaded her for so long.  Vindication was only moments away….

Responding to a startling kick to the shin, she released the girl without delay playing it off with a full-bodied laugh.  “What are you doing?” the redhead yelled, spastically choking.  “You trying to kill me?”

“Relax,” said the blonde.  “You’re my best friend.  I would never hurt you.  You know that, right?”

But the redhead didn’t answer – at least not with words.  Her shrill scream was cut short by the blonde thrusting her under again, this time with even more force.  She yanked tufts of the covetous red hair everyone always spoke about, the crowning feature that solidified her title of reigning school beauty.  Brutally jerking her head to the left and wrenching it to the right, she forced the girl to swallow massive amounts of water.

The redhead’s adrenaline now metastasized into rank primal fear.  She kicked and scratched for dear life causing the blonde to tighten her grip.  Overcome with sheer panic followed by pure helplessness, the redhead relaxed into an inevitable surrender.

With the determined patience of a professional assassin, the blonde counted slowly to fifty, waiting for the shapely, agile form that had cruelly beat her out of every competition to go still and flaccid forever.  She delighted in feeling the strong steady pulse slow to a mere fleeting throb and then finally to complete nothingness.  When the time came, the blonde released the body into the dark water without pause or sentiment, and gracefully swam back to the dock, crawling up the ladder with a smooth, athletic gait.

Mission accomplished.

Giddily content, the blonde patted away streaming lines of lake water with her tank top, tossing it back on along with her vintage cutoffs.  She left the other’s clothes balled up below the “NO DIVING” sign and never looked back.  The long-suffering second-in-command was now the captain of the Valentine Cheerleading Squad.

It was official.  The queen bee had be dethroned and destroyed.

Now available from Wild Child Publishing:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Big Project

An Excerpt From the Award-Winning Tell-All 
Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School

Lucy: Some teachers have BPS (Big Project Syndrome).

CeCee: BPS teachers just love, love, love the big projects. They love creating them, assigning them, talking about them, and grading them.

Lucy: Big projects either make or break you. Speaking from past experience, I can only vouch for being broken.

CeCee: So when you are assigned one, especially a long-term big project, it’s best to do your bestest because it’s very easy to get overwhelmed with the big project. And when you’re overwhelmed, it’s very easy to procrastinate. And when you procrastinate, it’s very easy to blow it off.

Lucy: And when you blow it off, it’s very easy to fail.

CeCee’s Tips on Acing the Big Project

Really understand the assignment. If there is a rubric or criteria chart, be sure to follow it. Ask questions if you are unsure about something.

Make an itemized list of all materials you will need, including poster board, markers, and so on. Buy all your supplies early on so you’re not panicking the night before.

Organize and calendar all due dates, especially if there are multiple deadlines.

If the project includes research, seek help from the information master herself—the school librarian. When she’s not shhhhhing, she can be very helpful in helping you find the appropriate resources.

Break up project into small parts or tasks. Make a little schedule or have a daily check-off list.

Project should be superneat. No typos, ripped edges, or messy writing. Always word process it if you can. When it’s time to submit it, make sure to write your teacher’s name, class, and date on a title page—along with your name, of course.

Set a date to finish a few days before it’s due. If possible, show the teacher, and ask if you’re on the right track so he or she will know you care.

If the teacher allows, do something extra cool—like a video or PowerPoint.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  

Life Science, Mr. Kragler  
October 5
Period 3

Science project notes on electricity experiment (and love analogy) by Lucy Pringle

Objective: To demonstrate static electricity using cereal, my hair, and a comb.

Materials used:
*Plastic comb  
*Twelve-inch piece of thread
*Hair (dry, not wet)  
*Puffed rice cereal


1) Okay, first, I tied this piece of puffed rice cereal to one end of a twelve-inch piece of thread. Then, I taped thread to the edge of my mother’s dining room table. (She got a little trippy about the tape taking off the finish, but I explained it was helping me pass science.)

2) Next, I washed my comb to remove all my hair oils and dried it well.

3) Then, I charged the comb by running it through my hair several times.

4) After that, I brought the comb near the hanging cereal piece and noticed it swung on its own in order to touch the comb. I held it still for a few seconds until the cereal jumped away by itself.

5) Knowing the cereal jumped away because of Mr. Kragler’s spellbinding lecture on the dynamics of electricity, I tried touching the comb to the cereal again. As expected, it moved away as the comb approached, sort of like I do when I see Lyle Whitehurst coming down the hall.

Okay, so the act of combing my hair jacked up these electron thingies because the comb has a negative static charge. And then, the neutral cereal was attracted to it but only at first. When they actually touched, the electrons moved from the comb to the cereal, making them all spazzy. Because both objects had the same negative charge, the cereal was repelled and then voilĂ —electricity!

This was a supercool experiment and reminded me of when I liked this BMOC, Josh Land, who I thought was the polar opposite of me: cool, attractive, and wildly popular. Anyway, it turns out he had this serious negative charge because he thought he was all that (and wasn’t) and liked this other girl, Kandi Klass (who eventually wanted to kick my butt). As it turns out, this negative charge had a negative effect on me. And yeah, it took a while, but eventually, I got repelled by him and now can’t even stand to look at him—mostly because his feelings were never reciprocal and his girlfriend still sees me as hate bait, but we won’t even go there … cuz now I like a new boy named Eddie—and guess what—he likes me! (IDTBC—Impending Drama to be Continued!)
Anyway, who would have thought Life Science was so much like real love? This experiment rocked, Mr. K.!

An excellent analogy, Ms. Pringle.