Get ready to know the difference between an oboe and an elbow because Scout sure didn’t at the start of Jade Armstrong’s “Scout is Not a Band Kid,” their debut graphic novel. Armstrong, a member of the Ontario based online collective Hello Boyfriend, kindly chatted with us about their new comic, explaining Canadianisms to Americans, and the trials and tribulations of having to draw so many full-band scenes. As a former band kid myself, I’m just glad comics are a silent medium because band practice is ROUGH.
Oh, and did I mention we touch on anime, book design, public catholic schools and the murderous origins of the book? Now I’ve got your attention. Thanks again to Jade for chatting with me!
To start us off, this was your first graphic novel. Is this the first long-form project that you’ve worked on or is it just the first one that’s been created, bound, and published with a major publisher?
Jade Armstrong: It’s the first one that I’ve done. Up to this point, I think the longest comic I’d ever done was something like 25 pages and even then I’m not sure if it was that long.
Was it hard to transition from the shorter works to this 200 some-odd page book?
JA: I mean, the short answer, yes. The long answer, no. Oh god. OK, because it’s almost like, when you’ve done 10-20 pages of a comic you kind of know what you’re getting into so the actual work wasn’t super different or challenging, it’s just the time was challenging. So instead of 20 pages done over three or four months, it was 300 pages done over 2 years. Once you’re at the 70% mark, it was like “I don’t wanna look at this anymore.” That was the hardest part, the burnout of essentially being like “I’ve been working on this project for so long. I would be doing anything else.”
Your first project, I know you work with the collective Hello Boyfriend, was it for them?
Was it serialized online?
JA: Hmmm…We have an ITCH.IO where we put PDFs of stuff so yes? We mostly sell at fairs and stuff.
So in terms of feedback for the work, both happened at around the same point when they were done but one took a lot less time.
JA: Yes, exactly.
That can be hard. Three years of not having anyone really respond to it.
JA: Yeah! Well, there was really an insular circle of people who could respond to it, right? Like a bunch of the members of Hello Boyfriend helped me along every so often when I’d go “Help!” Of course there’s my editor and copy editors and stuff too. Yeah, it’s not like you think of your 20 pages and you draw it and you put it out there and the whole time you’re like “This is great!” And then you hate it a year later.
That’s the curse of art.
Where did the initial concept of “Scout is Not a Band Kid” come from?
JA: It’s a good one. So, one summer a few years ago I went to the Center for Cartoon Studies and I took a workshop with Tillie Walden and Joe Knowles and it was SO GOOD. I think it was a Young Adult Graphic Novel workshop thing. One of the exercises was you have to write a bunch of characters, places, themes, and emotions – I don’t know if you’ve heard of the exercise – and as a class you make a list and then pick four and make a comic out of it.
So I picked musician, classroom, jealousy, murder.
That is. Amazing.
JA: And I wrote this four page comic. No offense to “Scout is Not a Band Kid” but it might be the best comic I’ve ever written in my life. It’s about this girl in high school who kills this other trombone student for being really pretty and talented and well liked by everyone and who kept calling the trombone a tromboner and the murderer is like “you are so annoying!” And then someone else bursts into the room and is like “I was gonna kill her first!” and then like, I dunno, they become friends? It’s like…anyway, you can read that on my website hahaha. It’s up there.Continued below
So that was where it started. I was like, I have this idea and I tried really, really hard to make a trombone battle royale, girls-killing-each-other book but it’s just not within my constitution to write stuff like that.
It’s a little too edgelord killy?
JA: It’s a little too edgelord and it works really well for four pages but not so much two hundred, I would say. And my true calling is slice-of-life soft things about emotions. But I was like: OK. I can’t do murder. It’s not within my constitution or whatever. What kind of book would I have wanted to read when I was in middle school and what kind of things can I pull from my own experience? I was a band kid and I played trombone. Great. Easy. I don’t have to research it. I would love to read a book about friendship and what it means to change friends and evolve growing-up as a youngin’.
That’s where the idea came from, more or less.
So enemies to murders to friends?
JA: Honestly the book just cut out the murders part cause they’re kinda enemies at the beginning.
That’s true. When you were plotting out “Scout,” how much research did you do into bands in general, band classes, etc? Or was it pulled entirely from latent middle-school band memories?
JA: I mostly used latent memories. There’s a certain amount of “how do you play the trombone again?” I remember I went to the Reference Library and checked out a bunch of How to Play Trombone books which was pretty fun. I had a full intention of “I’m gonna rent one.” I’m gonna rent one and play it again. My poor neighbors.
And then I never did that.
I know that feeling.
JA: But yeah, a lot of it was from latent memories.
Was there anything where, while you were reading it, you got a flashback to this one moment in band class? Sometimes I’ll have that. I played the Tenor Sax. Many years ago.
JA: Very good.
I bet it happened but it’s all kind of, there was a lot of “oh yeah. That happened.” This was brought to my attention the other day by an old friend from high school who was like “Oh, I laughed so hard at the bit where they had to clip down their music and prevent it from flying away” which was a key plot device, and she’s like, “I laughed so hard at how much of a pain that was.” I was like: Yeah! We had so many windy, outdoor events in, like, a parking lot where we used clothespins.
We had those little metal stands with the little wire things that didn’t actually do anything.
JA: Mmhmm, nothing. Nothing.
Who was your favorite character to write?
JA: Oh my god that’s a question I haven’t received yet, I don’t think. Hmmm, who was my favourite character to write? I mean, Scout was obviously a lot of fun and she’s the main character so there’s an element of I gotta make the main character a fun one to write. She’s got a lot of energy and is very outgoing and is pretty funny. I think she’s a pretty fun one. So Scout was my favourite. Merrin was pretty fun too but…
Outside of that, I really liked writing Victor, Vic, a lot too. I also found them really funny and they’re this kid that’s not me at all, you know? When I was a kid, I was really shy while Vic is grumpy. They’re very honest, which I like. I had a lot of fun with Vic. Just like with Vic, PB and Chris and all their interactions too.
Do you wish you had gotten a chance to write more of them into the story?
JA: Oh yes. Definitely! If I was to make the book longer, it would just be the five of them hanging out. Or the four of them if they’re not friends with Merrin at that point. But the book was getting too long and…I try to have a relatively decent amount but imagine just a chapter, like 10 pages, of just them hanging out together. I would love that.Continued below
I’m just thinking it might have fit the story that you had but it would’ve been really great to have that chapter in there.
JA: Yeah! Yeah.
I guess if it was more of a comic serial, it could be: Here’s the Vic, PB, Chris issue. Here’s the crew’s issue.
JA: It could be the filler chapter or whatever. Yeah…perhaps.
What was the inspiration for…let’s see if I can pronounce it right: Passoon? Is it pronounced like Bassoon?
JA: Oh my god I wish.
Or is it pronounced more like poutine?
JA: I pronounce it Pasone. I think it’s a German word for an early Trombone. It was called a posaune. I’m not sure if I’m pronouncing it right but that’s how I pronounce it in my head.
Well, the inspiration was like Tokyo Mew Mew, Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura and stuff like that. I love Mahou Shojo stories. “Tokyo Mew Mew” is like the first manga I ever had, so it was extremely influential. Changed my whole mind forever kind of thing so I wanted to shout out that.
Then I had to make it fit the story somehow so I was like “Um…they have…trumpets…and…elves? For some reason?”
Who knows? Tokyo Mew Mew was full of those kinds of things too.
JA: Right? Instead of invading animals, they’re just marching band elves who are magical and warriors and friends and whatever.
That’s great! I enjoy seeing what comes together to build the fiction media within fictional media. It’s always interesting seeing how we interpret and reinterpret the things we love and we see.
JA: Right. Yeah yeah yeah.
Let’s step to some more of the process because, I love how in all of the Random House Graphic books, they have in the beginning a small section about “how was this book made?” And you cited that you did both… it was in these programs and then a 200 pages ruled notebook. How did that happen? How did that work?
JA: I just have them! I just had a bunch of them and I found writing on paper to be perhaps more fun and it worked a bit better.
So you had written out the story in the notebook and then transferred it to Clip Studio Paint to actually draw the thing?
JA: More or less. I wrote out most of it in the notebook and then I went to a google doc and typed it out on the computer. Then did editing from there. Oh, I also thumbnailed on paper. I printed the script out and then drew my thumbs right next to it.
JA: It was cause I had trouble working so much on the screen. It’s pretty all over the place, like, Friendship Montage. I didn’t even draw it. I was like, I’m gonna deal with this later.
I mean, it is the thumbnail stage.
JA: It’s the thumbnail stage! I don’t need to figure out what my montage is gonna look like. And pages changed a lot, like the trombone slide one. The standout page! At one point, I moved back to digital but there’s just pages and pages of them. I put them into a google doc and had the thumbs next to the script in a table. From there, I moved everything into Clip Studio.
How long did it take you to complete a page once you got everything in?
JA: That’s a hard one to pinpoint because I did all the pencils and submitted it, then I did all the inks and submitted it, and then all the colour. I honestly want to say if I was to compile it all and average it out: a day? 8 hours, maybe? Maybe 5?
I’m sure some pages were faster than others.
JA: Some pages were so fast and then some were, I think there were a couple pages that took me days. Those scenes with the bus…
The Trombone slide one?
JA: The trombone slide one didn’t actually take me that long. It’s the ones with lots of crowds and backgrounds. I think those took me like a week. OR. Oh my god. I had so many pages that were just “Alright. Downshot on the classroom.” And panels like that probably took me a whole day by itself and it doesn’t even look that complicated. But it’s folding chairs and instruments and music stands and I was like “I did this.”Continued below
Yeah, it’s a lot of little details.
JA: It’s so annoying. It was so annoying.
Every artist I’ve talked to has been like, I write it in the script “Yeah! There’s gonna be a group shot and then there’s gonna be seven million laser blasts” and then they get to drawing and they’re like “I only have myself to blame.”
JA: I only have myself to blame! It’s also: first and foremost, I feel more like a storyteller than an artist so this is kinda like a means to an end or whatever. But then you can also cheat and be punchy. Big silhouette. Big foreground element. It really helps.
Why are there so many crowd scenes in climaxes!? My next book? No. Crowds. I swear.
Don’t set it at a school then.
JA: No school.
No schools. No festivals.
JA: No musical instruments.
At least you didn’t have to draw an bassoons.
JA: Yes. True. Imagine like a twelve-year-old with a bassoon. They’re tall!
Oh yeah. They’re very tall. When I was in band in seventh grade, I played the tenor saxophone. I was very short. The tenor saxophone was almost as tall as I was.
JA: That’s so funny! Did it hurt?
When I was sitting it was fine. When I was in marching band, less fine.
JA: Oooh. How was marching band? We didn’t actually have a marching band at our school.
It was a lot of fun. It was a lot of work though.
JA: I bet. I found just playing music hard enough. I couldn’t imagine marching. Marching to a pattern? Horrible.
Oh yeah. Memorizing the music was. The. Worst.
JA: Ah! You didn’t have the music in front of you?
Nope. Not allowed. Our band leader was like “No. We’re doing this? You don’t get sheet music.” And I was like, “Oh god.”
JA: Oh my god. It’s like memorizing lines in a play. That’s horrible. My condolences.
It’s Scout’s worst nightmare. Maybe that’s what the sequel will be. Scout suffering though marching band.
JA: Oh my god. Imagine.
Do you have any plans for more adventures following Scout? Even if it isn’t necessarily in band. Or do you think this is it for now.
JA: This is it for now. Yeah. I’m good to move onto something completely different for a little bit.
You’ve reached the bounds and the ends of her story?
JA: Yeah. For now. Also just like I’ve reached the end. I’m good. But the sheer amount of people that have asked me that feels really nice. Like, “Oh. People like these characters enough to want to see more of them. That’s really sweet.”
They want that spin off of them just hanging out.
JA: Oh my god my next book is just them hanging out all the time. They mention band, and they bring up their instruments, but they’re never seen with them.
You just seen in the distance the silhouette of the instruments, silently crying.
JA: Yes. Maybe just the case. Like they just have the case for the instrument but I don’t have to draw any valves or mouthpieces or long cylinders that are cones. They’re horrible.
What was the instrument you struggled the most with?
JA: Oh god. I mean. The trombone was hard, for sure. I had a 3D model that helped for sure. Trumpet, easy. Flute, easy. Clarinet, medium difficulty. You know what? Saxophone. Saxophone was definitely the hardest, actually. There’s not even a straight line on a saxophone! It’s this weird S-shape and there’s a bunch of buttons on it. God, the amount of times I had to google “What is a saxophone? How does a saxophone work?” There’s just such specific…and there’s a strap! So I have to put a strap on everyone and ugh the saxophone.
It’s a heavy instrument. You can’t just put it on your shoulder.
JA: And there are like four different kinds too! At one point, I felt like I had to put in all the different kinds of saxophone but as the book went forward, I was like: No. They’re all playing Alto or whatever.
If it’s a middle school band, I can see most of them playing altos. Maybe a soprano sax, which is just a golden clarinet.Continued below
JA: That’s not even in there haha.
Oh god, the baritone.
JA: So I played the baritone. That was actually the first instrument I ever played. Or…
The baritone sax?
JA: Oh, no. I thought you meant the baritone horn. You know the one that looks like a little tuba?
JA: That one wasn’t actually too hard to draw.
Yeah, the baritone sax’s next loops completely around then goes into the body.
JA: Oh my god. Absolutely horrible.
The thing weighed like 15 pounds, maybe more.
JA: Your shoulders would snap off! The good thing about this book is that it was based in my own experiences of small town band, which meant their budget was abysmal, so I could be like, they have nothing. No instruments.
I actually wanted to ask you about all the translator’s notes throughout. What was the inspiration for putting that in instead of letting it be?
JA: So, Random House is an American publisher – they’re based in New York – and my team is full of Americans. My book is Canadian. And I am a Canadian. So I just wrote it. If I could have let it be, I would’ve. However, my editor was like: “You know. Some of this just doesn’t make sense to Americans. We don’t know what a bird course is. We don’t know what runners are.” So I was like: “But I don’t wanna change it. This is my book and I don’t wanna put in all these Americanisms in it cause that doesn’t make sense to me.”
There’s enough American books out there with American words in it so it was a compromise. And it’s kinda funny, putting in these translator’s notes for something that’s so ridiculous but it’s also really useful. There’s a lot I didn’t know so I put in the bit about the kids and one of them is like: “Can I borrow your phone? I’m out of data.” And my editor’s like “Why?” Hahaha. I’m like: “Whaddya mean? Don’t you run out of data sometimes?” And she’s like: “No. That’s not a thing.” I’m like: “Wow. That’s a thing here. We run out of data. We pay tons of money for our phone plans. They’re really horrible.”
That was one where I was like, yeah, I gotta put this in, because some kids wonder why they’re saying that and I wanted them to know it’s a reality here. I could do without, you know, colour is spelled with a u in Canadian English. You’re like: *Sighs reluctantly a little bit.*
*Sigh* Favourite has a u, in Canadian English.
JA:Like, “oh my god. I guess I have to commit to this bit.”
That’s what made it so great!
JA: Thank you.
In part it was a bit of that but I also thought it fit the feel and especially when you opened up with the theme song for the Posaune anime.
JA: Thank you. I almost really ripped off the Toyko Mew mew opening. Straight up, “It’s Showtime” is in the TV show opening and I was like “Showtime! Like music. Put it in!”
Did you enjoy the coloring process? Obviously as you’re working on a project, the longer it goes, the more you get stuck in the doldrums, but was it something you liked or was it another part of the working process that you had to get through?
JA: Yeah! A couple of things. One, my full-time job was actually background painting for an animation company so I was working with colour all the time, which was really really cool. I enjoy colouring so it’s definitely one of those things where when you’re doing it, it’s like aaaaaaahhhhhh. You have to make all these decisions. So many scenes I tried out a bunch of different colour palettes and sent them to my friends and was like “vote. Tell me which one you like the best because I can’t decide.”
I did that so many times. I feel like for almost every single scene I was like “guys, help me.” That was really fun though. The nice thing about colouring too is you don’t have to draw. You’ve already done the drawing, which is also really hard, and you can just be like “Wheeee. Lights and stuff.” It’s still kinda difficult but yeah, I enjoyed colouring.Continued below
And. I had some assistants. I hired two flatters and they would fill in the chunks of colour for me, sometimes in a greyscale and sometimes if I had the colour palette figured out, they’d follow that. Then I just had to assign colour to the blocks and add shading and patterns and all that way more fun stuff. Honestly, the hardest part of colouring is filling in all those blocks, and now I had someone to do that for me so of course I enjoyed colouring when I didn’t have to do any of the hard parts. I just had to do the fun parts, so colouring in particular went really well for this book.
It’s also done. Once you colour a page, you’re like “Wow. So this is what the book looks like. This is a finished page. Woah.” It’s very satisfying in that sense.
Did you add the lettering before you did the colors? Or was it more like drawing, coloring, lettering?
JA:Lettering was with inking so colouring was at the end, I’m pretty sure. There was copy editing at some point. Actually, there were enough rounds of it where there was one after lettering and one after colouring.
Did you give much thought to the font you used? Was it based on your own handwriting? Did you hand write digitally or was there a font you’d come across or used before that you thought was the one?
JA: I got so lucky in that the designer for this book – shout out to Patrick Crotty, incredible human being. Also an amazing cartoonist, if you haven’t checked out his work – he made me a font. I really wanted the book to look hand lettered and they were like “That’s a lot of work. Would you like us to make you a font?” And I was like “Uh, yeah I want that.” So I got a font pretty early on which let me put it in, I think it was even at pencils I was using it, which was amazing.
I bet that was really helpful for placement on the pages.
JA: Yes! Exactly. And I also didn’t have to rewrite everything or move it around and stuff, which is a royal pain on your wrist.
Was there anything you wish, other than more Victor, PB, Chris etc. scenes, that you had been able to include in “Scout is Not a Band Kid,” like ways of taking the story, or by the end, were you like, no, this is what I wanted?
JA: It is what I wanted. It’s great and I’m super proud of it and I think it works really well together. But yeah. I feel like comics are so, even at 300 pages, it’s not a whole lot, and I think I would, in a magical world where this kind of thing is possible, all character interaction is what I would’ve wanted more of.
Scout with her dad. Merrin with her parents with her parents would have been nice. Some more stuff with Lou. Some more stuff with Lennox and Kim. No plot stuff, just fleshing out how all of these relationships work would have been really cool but alas, you can’t put in everything.
What have you taken away from this experience, this two year journey of making a big book?
JA: What have I taken away from it? Well, A) that I can do it, which is always pretty cool and B) that I cannot do it alone. I absolutely needed the support from all of my friends, just people who would look it over, give me support, or even just to give a pat on the back and a hot meal. Like there’s absolutely, absolutely a bajillion people who had even a small part of making this book happen. Also, the team at Random House. There’s so much.
Like I didn’t have to design the book? It looks so good. All the pages, they added all the numbers and these flappy things and I dunno, it’s this beautiful colour. Patrick and I worked on the cover together so that was a really cool and fun thing, to have someone who is so good at designing books be like, “here’s some ideas,” and did all the cool, slanted titles. Comics are a labour for sure, and a lot of it is on your own, but I think there’s so much of it that’s, for me anyway, community based.Continued below
You really love the community aspects of comics?
JA: Yes! It’s the best. Comics is the best community.
I did a lot of co-working because comics are pretty solitary and it’s just you writing and drawing, unless you have assistants haha. But especially with other members of Hello Boyfriend, we did a lot of co-working where we were in-person in a basement or over Zoom or whatever where we were working together, showing each other stuff and getting feedback. Yup. The best.
Being inspired by each other? I could keep going.
Are you planning on making in the near future more stuff for Hello Boyfriend or are you embarking on another very big project?
JA: Hmmmm. I’m working on some pitches at the moment for some more long-form books which I’m very excited about and definitely always talking about stuff to do at Hello Boyfriend. All of the above, I guess. I like doing lots.
It’s good to keep busy.
JA: Well, I mean yes it’s good to have stuff you’re working on but it’s also good to totally not be busy and just hang out, which I do a lot of also.
I’m guessing also with Hello Boyfriend.
JA: Yeah, we’re also just friends so we hang out. If we aren’t hanging out, we’re making things, which is the kind of balance you want.
Be more Scout, less Merrin?
JA: Exactly! You get it.
But maybe not when Scout isn’t doing anything.
JA: Yeah. There’s the line. It’s good to follow through on your obligations.
I can’t believe she didn’t get kicked out after a month of skipping band practice. I got to that and went, “Oh my god. If I had missed one, my band teacher would have been like ‘What are you doing?’”
JA: Really? Oh no. People skipped band all the time. I mean, people took it seriously but they didn’t take it too seriously, which I really came to appreciate as an adult because it’s middle school band. Or high school band. Yeah, my teacher would get fed up sometimes when people were disrupting band or consistently not doing the work and stuff but there’s no reason to be such a hardass, especially as a teacher.
Teens are going through stuff and playing trombone once a week is not really high in the priority list. There’s a part of my that’s like, I hope teachers read this and take away that it’s better to be the cool, understanding teacher and let kids be instead of the one who cracks the whip and makes them really anxious for literally no reason.
They’re already bundles of anxiety. They don’t need more.
JA: Yeah! Let then have fun. I like to think about music as having fun and to encourage kids to like music is to encourage them to have fun.
It’s a hard balance to it.
JA: It is. Definitely. I’m also not a teacher so I don’t know how hard that balance is. And there’s a slight difference between when you’re a teacher in a classroom versus what is basically a club.
I also don’t know. I’m not sure. This is not my area of expertise. Teachers come at me. Not in the aggressive way! Oh my god, that came out so wrong.
This actually reminded me: why did you chose to set it at a private school instead of a public school?
JA: It’s actually not a private school. It is a public school. It is a public catholic school which is a thing in Ontario.
JA: I know!
There was a note in the four-panel comics in the back about how Catholic Schools receive public funding but I didn’t realize it was considered a public school because of that.
JA: No, yeah, they’re public schools. There’s a part of me that really struggled with it for a bit. Part of me didn’t even want to put it in the Catholic School because I don’t think they should be getting public funding if other kinds of religious schools aren’t treated the same way. Also the history of Catholicism in Canada is pretty fraught, genocide and all that, so I struggeld with it. However, it was my own experience.Continued below
Despite not being Catholic, I went to the Catholic high school…because I wanted to wear the uniform. Because it was anime.
So you did have a choice between…
JA: I did have a choice, yeah. I could choose between the public secular high school or I could go to the Catholic high school. It’s funny. Our elementary school went from K-8 and then the high school went from grade 9-12, the public one. The Catholic school went from grade 7-12, so I moved into Catholic middle school essentially. In a small town, I guess there isn’t funding for a whole separate middle school, which I know can happen in some other places.
My town has two elementary school and then the middle and high school are in the same building. 7-12.
JA: Nice! Yeah yeah yeah. Another one!
But yeah, I begged my parents. “I wanna go to Catholic school.” And they were like, “You’re not even Catholic.” And I was like, “I wanna wear the kilt!” Ah god. I think I was also having some friendship troubles in elementary school so much of it was also me wanting to try something new.
A fresh start?
JA: Yeah, a fresh start. That’s how I grew up so I wanted to put that in my book. But yeah, you don’t have to be a certain religious denomination to get into Catholic school because they are publicly funded, I’m pretty sure. It used to be but they switched it somewhere more recently. Anyway, this is all, I dunno, not super interesting.
I find it interesting.
JA: Ok cool!
And I’m sure there are other people, especially in America, who are like: “Wait, there a public Catholic schools?” But I guess it depends on the region. I’m in NJ and we have a ton of private, religious schools but no public Catholic school in the same way.
JA: It’s such a thing here. It. Is. Wild. Canada is buck wild sometimes.
With Scout’s journey through the book, how did you want to make sure that Scout’s journey felt not easy but not cliched? Because there were many aspects where it was very true to life, like in what would Scout have experienced, and there weren’t always super easy answers, even if it was a simple situation like stop being such a jerk to your friends, Lennox. Come on.
I’m specifically thinking of that final scene with Lennox, I don’t want to spoil it for people even though the book has been out for a few weeks now. Still, that last scene got me thinking about how it didn’t resolve nicely and neatly. There was a resolution but I felt like we were passing in and out of her life and that was really nice.
JA: Aw, thank you.
I don’t know if there was a question in there.
JA: Hahaha. The core of the book is Scout navigating her friendships. The band thing started as a vehicle to talk about different types of friendships and it is a catalyst for Scout to move away from most specifically Lennox.
I wanted to write about how messy it can be to have friends that you grow apart from. I feel like I kept some people in my life for a bit too long because I felt like it was what you were supposed to do. Not even like they were bad people but if you don’t feel like you can truly be yourself around someone, how much of a friend are they.
That final scene with Lennox was kind of a bummer. I use bummer but I really wanted to drive home the fact that Lennox was also not being true to herself and if you’re not going to be open about that kind of thing, your friendships will suffer. When you’re a teen, I feel like your friendships are one of the hardest things to navigate.
Now I’m, like, old and I’ve had a bunch of friendships. You have them and then you learn from them and then you move forward but when you’re twelve? It’s a really difficult time in your life and you’re going through a lot of changes and you’re probably becoming really close to people in ways you’ve never done before. I’m not sure.
But anyway, thanks for saying so. I’m really glad to hear it because that was one of the most important things when I was writing, making it feel honest and real and not just a trope or however you would phrase that.