Friday, February 4, 2011

Fear Pressure

Pittsburgh, 1949

Somethings never change. Some people never learn. As Captain Beefheart once sang, what this world needs is a good $2 room and a good $2 broom.

Peer pressure is a theme that pops up in most of my books. There is a tendency in the world to view peer pressure in the most basic way. What most people don't think about is how a culture of peer pressure has formed all around us in an ever present media and advertising age.

We are constantly bombarded by marketing campaigns telling us what to want. To keep it interesting, they're always changing it to make sure no one ever feels satisfied or content with who they are. This goes beyond consumer marking of course and ventures quite easily into fear mongering. As an adult, I feel like I'm able to dismiss much of this and see-through it. But in my writing, I often stop to take a look at what it's like to grow up in this world. As a teenager, typically a time of insecurity anyway, these influences can feel crippling. Part of what I try to do by tackling this theme is simply making one aware. After all, you can't resist what you don't understand.

It's not that I fear the's just that sometimes it feels like we're traveling fast on the road toward it with nobody manning the wheel and the passengers too distracted to notice or care. It's easy to express momentary outrage over a news event about bullying or school shootings....but it means nothing if you don't spend some time thinking about it afterward.

My books aren't necessarily about characters waking up to some truth about the world as they are about characters discovering more questions.


  1. “Sometimes questions are more important than answers.”
    Nancy Willard