The Edge of Seventeen
I'm getting close to publishing the third Madeline Carter novel, Calculated Loss, in e-book form. As with earlier books in this series, it's been a delight to go back and revisit work I never thought I'd have reason to spend time with again. But because the Carter books are partly technical in nature -- all that stock and trading stuff -- it seemed especially important to go back and give the books a careful edit before republishing them in a new format.
The Madeline Carter books, along with being high action financial thrillers, also have a thoughtful component. I don't remember any more how that came about, but in doing these new edits its been fun to come across moments like this one and wonder what I was thinking when I wrote the words. Sometimes I remember. In this case, though, I do not. I was so immersed in Madeline's world as I wrote, I know they came out of her memories. But, considering Madeline's source material? They are, of course, at least a little bit my feelings, as well.
When I was younger, everything made much more sense. You looked at the world and what you saw was what you believed: the two things didn’t need to be so very different.
When I look back on it now, I sometimes think I’ll never again possess the wisdom I had when I was seventeen. I knew everything at seventeen. I had opinions on politics and world affairs. More than opinions: I saw the mess everyone else had made of everything in the world and just couldn’t understand how they could all be so stupid. If they’d known what I knew -- I thought -- the planet would be a much more sensible place.
The beauty -- and perhaps the curse -- of being seventeen is that you don’t see the entire spectrum. You see the blacks and you see the whites, but you haven’t developed the taste or the sensibility for all the subtle hues in between. Love was love and hate was hate. They were different and not related. And ambivalence? Empathy? Those aren’t in the seventeen year old’s palette and certainly not her vocabulary.