Monday, November 21, 2011

What I'm Thankful For

It sucked.

I know as adults with property taxes, layoffs, bills, and all our grownup drama, we sometimes roll our eyes when we hear a teen grumble, "My life sucks."

Because how bad could their lives be, right?

Well, as an adult, I can say that my teenage years were the worst years of my life. Seriously. When I was seventeen, I was kicked out of the house by The Stepdad who then took all my stuff (everything from my clothes to my bed, my bed) and burned it all in one glorious bonfire.

I had a part-time job at Arby's, so dinner was pretty easy to come by. As far as those other two meals a day, meh. Who needs 'em when you have cigarettes? I was allowed to take showers and do my homework at my boyfriend's house. But his parents didn't want me spending the night. So when the sun went down, I would find a dirt road somewhere in the country (usually a cornfield), park my car, and hope that no one (i.e. cops or other teenagers) would bother me until morning.

So what's a girl to do when she's all alone in a cornfield? Well, library cards were free and book light batteries were cheap. So I would fill up my backseat with books and spend my nights reading until I eventually fell asleep. And the best thing about a good book is, when I was reading, I wasn't alone in a cornfield waiting for the sun to come up, but I was with my friends in magical places and going on adventures that took my mind off of my own problems.

That's when I realized how magical books were. And that's why I wanted so badly to be a writer for young adults. If there's a homeless teen somewhere that picks up my book and, even for a moment, can forget where they are, then I've accomplished what I set out to do.

When people picture a homeless person, the image that comes to mind is the old man on the street corner peddling for change. They don't realize that the kid waiting at the bus stop or even working the fast food counter at Arby's might not have anything to go home to but the back seat of a VW Jetta.

My house isn't big enough to house all of those kids. But if they can fall inside of a book, even for just a moment, isn't that something to be thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
When Cole Gibsen isn't writing books for young adults, she can be found rocking out with her band, sewing crazy costumes for the fun of it, picking off her nail polish, or drinking straight from the jug--provided no one is looking.

Her debut novel, KATANA, will be available March 8th, 2012. For more information about Cole you can check out her


  1. Wish I'd known you back then - you could've crashed with me :) Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Cole, so sorry to hear about those tough times—but it makes your adult successes all the more amazing. Enjoy your holiday!

  3. Wow, that is rough. But I imagine you have a breadth of experience from this that brings something really special to your writing. Can't wait to read Katana. Thank you for sharing your experience here. Happy Thanksgiving!