Basically, the moral of this story is in the title of the post. But allow me to elaborate if you have a little more time.
Yesterday, my younger brother asked me, “What are you doing to make yourself relevant?” (This is the same brother who convinced me to start a blog.) He didn’t elaborate on what he meant, however, so I didn’t answer. But I thought about his question today as the spring snow flurries gently wafted to the ground. (Yes. Snow flurries.) I knew he meant relevant to my audience, which covers kids elementary age through high school.
My thoughts on the subject ran thusly: If I really wanted to be relevant I would have a YouTube Channel like John and Hank Green. Yeah, I wish. (If you’re not sure who the Greens are, click here for one of their channels or here for a bio.)
Hank and John Green
Or, I thought, I’d have one like the crew at How It Should Have Ended (HISHE) have. At this channel, they produce videos of alternate ways popular movies, movie trailers, and videogames could have ended.
I LOOOOOOVE this channel. Of the videos they produce, this is one of my favorites:
To show the relevance of this channel to the audience, another YouTube channel, this one by the Fine Bros, catalogued the reactions of teens to HISHE. That’s here if you want to see that video. They have other videos that show kids reacting to other aspects of pop culture.
The Fine Brothers
Or, I considered, instead of a YouTube channel, perhaps I could do like my good friend Lyn Miller-Lachmann does and collaborate on Instagram with other storytellers. Lyn set up a Lego village in her home called Little Brick Township and has come up with stories based on it. Check out this post or this one at her blog. (Or better still, check out one of her young adult books, like Rogue.)
I took a quick inventory of my assets.
(First photo) A Dancing Oh from a McDonald’s Happy Meal (based on a character from the DreamWorks movie Home), Kitty, and Gandalf. (Second photo) Jordie, Frodo, and assorted sheep who strayed from the bookcase herd.
Okay, so Instagram storytelling was probably not the way to go with this motley crew. I needed another angle. . . .
Once I drank a few cups of coffee, I realized the answer to the question was staring me in the face all along. A comment Tina Alexander made in an interview at About Entertainment (an article written by Nancy Basile) helped. When asked, “How did HISHE come about?” Alexander replied, “Truly just from a love of movies and discussing them.” So, Lyn, the Fine Brothers, the Greens, and the folks at HISHE (Daniel Baxter, Tina Alexander, Tommy Watson, Otis Frampton, and many others) were all doing what they love to do. That’s how they keep relevant.
That’s when I realized: I’m already doing what I love to do: talking to kids and teens about the books, movies, YouTube channels, and videogames they love and I love. Best of all, I’m writing stories I love in order to share those stories with them.
So, the best thing I can do to be relevant is to be myself. It really is true: everything I needed to know I learned in kindergarten.
How would you answer my brother’s question for yourself?
The Fine Brothers from Wikipedia. The Greens from pinterest.com. How It Should Have Ended logo from tardesocio.blogspot.com.