My relationship with Judy Blume wasn’t more important than any other young girl’s relationship ever was. She was the adult who seemed to remember what it was like to be a growing girl and in a way, as an adult, she was our voice. I loved reading Judy Blume.
It was more than reading a book geared to kids my age. It was an experience.
Like the time I hid Forever under the covers because it talked about… whisper, whisper, sex. What I know now that I didn’t know as a nine-year-old, was my mom wouldn’t have banned the book. I still could have read it.
Or the time when one of the girls at the bus stop stole her mom’s copy of Wifey and read the dirty parts to us. Oh, to be young and stupid.
As I said, my experience wasn't more important than anyone else's, but it may have been slightly different. For me, it was the emotions that the books invoked that made me want to do what Judy did. I wanted to write the stories that made people feel. Whether it was angry, sad, scared, or love, I wanted the words I wrote to mean something to someone else. Like she did for me.
Tonight I saw Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret. It was part nostalgia and part revisiting of my youth. I am so glad they set the movie in 1970 and not modernized it. But it was also me, remembering that those books are where my passion took off.
I watched, laughed, and cried. It felt as though I was visiting an old friend.
And I went with a friend. We watched, we talked, and we remembered what it was like to be that age. It felt like a recording of our past.
It was an homage to the woman who cemented my childhood dream, and who essentially gave me the passion to do what I do. For that, I will be, Forever grateful.