Who did you idolize as a teenager? “
Okay. *cringe* Are you ready? My idol was:
I was an odd kid. As a teenager, I felt lonely & misunderstood – which is normal, I know, but is also partially my fault. Around the onset of puberty, I began to get really shy, and feel really awkward around other people. Coupling my sudden shyness, which prevented me from easily meeting new people, with my awkward appearance, which was about as pleasant as you would expect from a brace-faced kid with wildly frizzy hair whose posture continually seemed to get worse, and the fact that I was apparently the worst kid ever, since my parents grounded me constantly, and I pretty much lost the friends I had already made. I should have put myself out there, joined some school clubs, or tried out for the school play, or something, but I didn’t.
Instead, I immersed myself even more within the world of books. And my favorite author throughout my teens was Christopher Pike.
I grew up primarily in the nineties, so when I discovered Pike’s writing, he still had an agreement with Scholastic that resulted in his publishing a new novel about every 2 months.
My favorite Pike novel was undoubtedly Master of Murder, which I have probably read at least 20 times. My copy has been thumbed through so often, I’m kind of surprised the cover is still intact.
For those who haven’t read it, Master of Murder is the story of Marvin Summer, the wildly talented, wildly rich teenage author… except that no one knows that he is actually the author of all of the novels that he gets published under the pseudonym Mack Slate. Marvin is smart and funny, and there’s a cute short story about Seymour the Frog (read it) that gets him a B+ in his creative writing class (isn’t that a laugh?). There’s a whole mystery, and he’s maybe getting a second chance with his lady love Shelly Quade (or maybe not…), and he needs to finish the concluding novel of his wildly popular murder-mystery series, as well as solve the possible real-life murder of his old friend & Shelly’s ex-boyfriend, and the murder of his old friend & rival is eerily similar to the murdered chick in his murder-mystery series that he hasn’t figured out the end to yet, and… I. Loved. It. I still do, actually, though I can now appreciate that some of the writing is a bit trite.
My appreciation for Mr. Pike is all tied up with my appreciation for Master of Murder, because though Pike himself has written numerous times that he is not the same person as Marvin Summer, of course I merged them at least a little (and probably a lot) in my mind. I also had dreams of writing a bestselling novel in high school, though the closest to writing a novel that I came was sophomore year, when I wrote a 79 page story that is possibly one of the most horrible things I have ever written. (Horrible in terms of writing, because I wrote some seriously disturbing short stories while in high school.)
I was so infatuated with Mr. Pike, that I wrote a paper about him in my tenth grade government class about how he is a “True American.” My reasoning was that as an author who writes under a pseudonym (though anyone with the most infantile of search capabilities can easily discover his real name is Kevin McFadden), Pike can achieve the money and fame that all Americans kind of want, while simultaneously maintaining anonymity, and thereby avoiding the paparazzi/tabloid hell that celebrities are always complaining about. (This reasoning did not convince my teacher, who gave me a “B.”)
So… there’s my embarrassing teenage idol story. Who was yours?