“Inspirations and Influences” is a series of articles in which we invite authors to write guest posts talking about their…well, Inspirations and Influences. The cool thing is that the writers are given free rein so they can go wild and write about anything they want. It can be about their new book, series or about their career as a whole.
Hello everybody! As you probably know by now, Ana LOVED September Girls. Today we are delighted to welcome its author, Bennett Madison, to talk about his inspirations and influences. And true to form, he came up with a cool, different way to do just that.
Please give it up for Bennett!
In the Kingdom of Teenage, everyone drives epically fast cars (generally red convertibles) and wears too much liquid eyeliner. Everyone’s mouths are sweet with flavored lip-gloss. Tony, Michelle and Cassie dance all night, dizzy with pills.
Most places in this kingdom are Southern California except those that aren’t, and the scenery has kind of gone to hell since Lisa Frank, the Royal Designer, got shipped off to rehab. People seem to like it better like a little run-down anyway.
In a graffiti-covered bathroom in a bad part of town, James Dean and Sal Mineo are giving each other smoldering, dark-eyed looks through the veil of smoke that spirals out from their cigarettes. The Shangri-La’s Leader of the Pack plays somewhere in the distance. Then a little sideways smile. Everything is always a game of chicken.
For the Wakefield Twins, it’s always Truth or Dare, unless it’s Never Have I Ever. The members of the Baby-sitter’s Club prefer Mother May I. They all live here too—well, all except Jessi and Mallory. The fact that Kristy is president doesn’t change the fact that Claudia is queen.
After months on the run, Nova Ren Suma’s missing girls have finally made it to the kingdom, but they remain missing. They aren’t the only ones. Around here, no one has any parents and the parents they do have are defined by their absence. Kelly Link’s Girl Detective opens door after door after door and descends an endless chain of staircases in search of her lost mother. Fox is still on a pirate ship sailing around the world in pursuit of Prince Wing.
In a bedroom somewhere in the kingdom’s suburbs, a young-but-not-quite-teenage Liz Phair rolls over and sweeps sleep-greased hair from her face. She has lingered too long here, she knows, but she can’t be bothered to be on her way. And this is her childhood bedroom, isn’t it? So she lights another bowl, picks up her guitar and begins to lay down messy guitar on a battered four-track.
To Trip Fontaine, who is parked on the street outside, it sounds like the music is coming from another planet or from the bottom of the ocean. The words are mumbly and strange. He leans back in the driver’s seat, forever stoned and golden.
Elsewhere, in the royal palace, Rayanne Graff adjusts the crown atop her rainbow of cornrows and nurses a watermelon Blow Pop. Rayanne is lonely on her throne: Tino’s somewhere but he’s difficult to pin down and Angela Chase doesn’t get to travel to the kingdom often.
This should be Angela’s domain too, Rayanne thinks. Shouldn’t it? Well, it should. But she knows the truth of the matter: Angela—however fictional—is a real teenager and therefore can only stop by from time to time. Rayanne herself is just an idea, and ideas of people are the only people allowed permanent residence here.
When you’re twelve, The Kingdom of Teenage is the place you think you’re going to go when you turn thirteen. As an adult, it’s the place you never quite forget you’ve been cast out of. When you are seventeen, it is yours and yet always as remote as ever.
You get a glimpse of it every now and then. You might see it, briefly and in the distance, the first time you sneak into a bar or the first time you kiss someone you really shouldn’t be kissing, or on that day in early spring when you ditch school to jump into the passenger seat of a car that barely slows to pick you up by the side of the road. You will visit it in moments that are more like places; moments in which you are on the brink of something dangerous and new, in which you know that you are younger than you’ve ever been and more adult than you will ever again be.
And when you find yourself standing on the edge of a canyon looking out over Francesca Lia Block’s glittering Los Angeles, the back of your skirt hastily tucked into the waistband of your underpants and fifty empty Bud Lite cans piled at your feet, wondering how did I get here?, at least now you know where you are.
We have ONE copy of September Girls up for grabs! The contest is open to ALL and will run until Saturday July 6 at 12:01am. To enter, use the form below. Good luck!