JASON REYNOLDS

writin' and whatnot

Letter to my 16 year old self

First off, Happy New Year! Ok, so, I've been reading this book of letters written by famous people, to their 16 year old selves. It got me thinking about what I would say to 16 year old me, now that I've learned all I've learned, and seen all I've seen. Probably something like this:

Dear Jason,

Start dealing with your arrogance now, that way when life starts heaving humble pie at your face, the taste wont be as bitter. Also, in a few years, high school will seem as insignificant as 8 hours of sleep on a random tuesday. So don't trip too much about it.

Your mother will be sick. And it's going to be rough (which is why I advise you to check your ego now) but don't worry, she'll pull through. Her life, as well as yours, will never be the same though. Oh, and when she goes into that big surgery on the day you are supposed to sign your first big book contract, don't go. Stay with her in the hospital. You'll be surprised at how easy it is to reschedule those types of things.

Also, you and your father will be ok. I know you hate him now, but he knows he's messed up and trust me, he will apologize. It will take him ten years, but it's coming. He's a good guy. He's just got a lot going on. And you will too soon, so get to know him better, because knowing him will help you understand certain things about yourself.

Jason, I know this is going to be tough to hear, but you really have to start paying attention to the details in life. You're the luckiest kid in the world, but in order to sustain your luck, you really have to dot your I's better. You can't bullshit everything. I know you think you can, but you've got some losses coming if you don't get this in check. Charm, personality, and likeability can't do everything.

Take college seriously. Don't get caught up in being popular. I mean, enjoy it, but don't let it overtake you. I mean, you will anyway, because you're young, but I have to at least warn you.

Thank God for the people that clap for you.

The white boy is cool. Trust him.

Lastly, keep writing. Trust me, they're all going to tell you to think of a plan B, and judge you for moving to New York (which you will do...go back to that part about your arrogance and life serving up humble pie...yeah) and being broke and rebellious and seemingly irresponsible but keep writing anyway, because in your work lies the key to the life you've dreamed of. Just trust me on that one.

I don't tell you this often enough, but I love you man.

Sincerely,

You, at 28