[dropcap2]W[/dropcap2]hich would be better, being a freshly born bull calf who gets his nuts chopped off and a year later slaughtered to feed man’s hunger for beef? Or, as a bull calf you get your nuts chopped off just in time to find out that the world has suddenly gone vegetarian? Surely you can see the dilemma. On the one hand, you get to go on living a considerably less purposeful life. On the other you are used for what you were forced to become.
This is how I’m beginning to see the creative industry. Novelists are streaming to young adult literature (YA) because readers appear to be youngening even as they get older. (It’s not because 16 year-olds are suddenly reading more. It’s because their parents are raiding their bookshelves.) Why read at the eighth grade level when one can find books for adults written at the fifth grade level? It just wastes brain energy one could use for sudoku or for understanding the witty quips on Castle.
As a writer I want to be the next Castle, so I write what people want to read. That used to be Nikki Heat, but now it’s Hungry, Hungry Dumbledoor or “Jackass: Vampire Edition – A Secret Diary.” Why should I bother to write something for adults and risk alienating teenagers (and make it onto most adults’ when-I-don’t-have-a-headache-and-need-a-margarita list for reading), when I can write something for teenagers and get the best of both worlds. Call it “young” and “adult” and its a win win.
All of a sudden reader and writer alike are facing a world where intelligently entertaining books are no longer profitable, therefore soon to be no longer found. Dash it all. Right when I was about to become the next Castle (I swear. I was this close. *show fingers 3/4 of a centimeter apart*) Now that I’m a castrated Castle what do I do? Yearn that the public wake from their YA trance and desire cogitatingly splendorific material I am no longer capable of providing? Or cast myself like so much sawdust on the floor of the American cultural vomitorium?[divider]
By the way, my new YA version of Fistful of Reefer, Handful of Hemp, will be available from your teenager’s ebook reading device this fall.