The origin of Straight Edge

At first sight it may seem like a bit of a stretch: a Straight Edge writer writing a Young Adult novel about pot smoking and weed growing. As it turns out, juxtaposing straight edge with weed presented me with some very interesting plot twists.

Straight Edge or not, if you are writing for YA you need to be true, you need to tell the tale from the heart, throw in your own experiences and make it as real as possible. If you don’t, they will prick right through it and trash you and your precious novel before you know it.

So, where to go if you need to find your way in the land of the dazed, if you need to raise the veil on weed, shed light on pot growing and learn about the mind-expanding and lucrative trade?
Living in Amsterdam helps. 🙂 Coffee shops galore in my neighborhood – for those unfamiliar with the Dutch coffee shop phenomenon: it’s the place to go if you want to get stoned. If you want coffee: go to a café…

smoking grass...

Nevertheless I decided against a coffee shop, not in the least because I didn’t want to run into any… errr… young friends. I know Dutch coffee shops have a strict age-policy, but YA’s today are just as resourceful as we were in the days before we reached that age that magically opened all doors. I tried to contact the hemp museum, but they must be somewhere high up in a place where the real world can’t reach them, because up till this date I haven’t heard from them.
I googled some more and stumbled upon that other weed related Dutch phenomenon: the grow shop. There was one right around the corner from my writer’s residence: Dampkring.
I set out to find enlightenment and I found it.
At first the two guys in the shop were a bit suspicious of this old broad asking them where a 16-year old (my protagonist is 16) could get the right stuff to set up a pot growing business – heck, I could be a cop or worse, an outraged mom – but gradually they grew more and more enthusiastic about my project. They told me everything there is to know about weed, and even more, ultimately leaving me with the distinct feeling that a writer’s heaven may well be a mom’s hell.

For now I go for heaven and I owe those two guys big time!