Double Negative Blog Tour

Today I have the pleasure of hosting C.Lee Mackenzie on my blog. Welcome Lee! Congratulations on the new book!



What I Wish I’d Known When I Was A Teen



Where to start is the question. Maybe understanding that I knew very little, instead of thinking I knew everything is exactly what I should mention first in this post. Here are some conversations I’d have today with that younger self, if I could.

Old Me: Who in the heck did you think you were little Miss-I-Know-What-I’m-Doing?

Teen Me: Say what?

Old Me: Remember telling Mom how you didn’t care what she said. You were bleaching your hair, and you did. That went so well, didn’t it?

Teen Me: It wasn’t that bad.

Old Me: Excuse me?

Teen Me: Mom fixed it.

Old Me: Exactly.

My next conversation with Teen Me might be about not taking everything so seriously, including myself.

Old Me: Stop with the moping. No one noticed you snorted 7-Up down your front.

Teen Me: You’ve got to be kidding. Everyone noticed. Tim noticed.

Old Me: Tim. Who was Tim?

Teen Me: Only the hottest guy on the track team.

Old Me: I can’t remember him. But, and here’s the point, you’re not the center of the universe, dear. Everyone was busy noticing other things.

Teen Me: Like what?

Old Me: Oh, like the winner crossing the finish line for one.

Then I’d have something to tell her about secrets. Everyone has secrets and those are often things they aren’t very proud of.

Old Me: So you were jealous of Ann. Am I remembering right?

Teen Me: She had a pool and Keith. She had a mom and a dad who belonged to the tennis club. She—

Old Me: She didn’t have the grades to get into any college she applied to. She wound up not going to college. She wound up marrying Keith, divorcing him and overdosing. Ann had a lot of secrets.

Teen Me: I wish I’d known.

Old Me: Me, too.

Now’s a good time for a hug from Old Me to Teen Me. If there’s one thing more I’d say it’s this: The past is the past. Let it be. The future is as uncertain and unknowable as it ever was. Embrace this moment. It’s all we have and it’s perfect.

Wish I’d know that when I was a teen.


15, 16, 17 and all with new hairstyles. Was Lee never satisfied?





15, 16, 17 and all with new hairstyles. Was Lee never satisfied?

Aren't the pictures cute?

And here's a link to Dear Teen Me, a letter Lee wrote to her younger self on the Dear Teen Me blog. Check it out! Some writers may be interested in submitting a letter. It's lots of fun and you're listed with a lot of other writers!


  1. Hilary on July 23, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Hi Michelle – what a great intro to Lee's new book her "Double Negative" – which sounds a great read … but then what a fascinating take on your intro to her and her writing … I shall check out the Dear Teen Me site … 

    Fascinating – great post … for her book etc .. and as you say I'm sure many authors or potentially published authors would be interested in being featured in the blog … 

    Cheers to you both .. Hilary

    • C. Lee McKenzie on July 24, 2014 at 11:02 pm

      Thanks for reading my letter to my Teen Self. What a self-centered thing I was. I wish I could tell my mom and dad how much I regret all that I put them through. 

  2. Alex J. Cavanaugh on July 23, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Nothing worse than snorting 7-up…

    You did change your hair a lot, Lee.

    • C. Lee McKenzie on July 24, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      I did. I experimented and ruined my hair lots of times. Why? Who knows.


  3. Southpaw on July 23, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Ah, the teen years… I don't ever want to go bad there. Everything was so serious!

    • C. Lee McKenzie on July 24, 2014 at 11:05 pm

      Serious with dire consequences. I can still remember thinking I'd die if that guy Tim didn't ask me out. I can't imagine ever being that dumb, but I was.

  4. Jemi Fraser on July 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Love the pics! I wish I'd known a few more things as a teen too! And I think we all did the 7up snort at one time or another 🙂

    • C. Lee McKenzie on July 24, 2014 at 11:06 pm

      Always an embarrassing moment, that snorting thing. Now I just mop it up and smile. Maybe burp.

  5. Lexa Cain on July 23, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Lee, I'm you as a teen! Dyed or permed hair disasters? Check. Snorting stuff down my front (milk from laughing)? Check. Friends who married highschool/college sweethearts and are now divorced? Check. Great post! Wishing you huge success on your new book!! 🙂

  6. Carol Kilgore on July 23, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Loved the interview with your teen self. I remember I couldn't wait to be a teen. Then I was so glad when I wasn't one anymore.

    • C. Lee McKenzie on July 24, 2014 at 11:09 pm

      I seem to have lost my first comment. Awk! Anyway, I wrote something, like, I was the same way as you. Now I work on being happy with who and what I am at the moment. Age is good.

  7. Crystal Collier on July 23, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Awesome. I love those pics, and the conversation. It's crazy how just a few years can give you so much perspective, eh? 

    • C. Lee McKenzie on July 24, 2014 at 11:10 pm

      There are great benefits to growing older. You have more history to draw from if you take the time to do that. 

      • Crystal Collier on July 30, 2014 at 6:22 pm

        So true. You think you've got it all figured out when you're young. The downfall of being older is that you have to WRITE IT ALL DOWN before you lose it. 🙂

  8. joylene on July 23, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    I love this. For some reason it made me teary. For lost innocence? Wouldn't want to be a teen again. It was brutal. Guess there's a lesson to be learned there somewhere. Love the conversation, Lee. I wonder if I'd be so kind with my younger self. 

    • C. Lee McKenzie on July 24, 2014 at 11:11 pm

      I have other conversations that were less gentle. I can't post those. I blush too easily.

  9. tammy theriault on July 23, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    ~~Teen Me: I wish I’d known.

    Old Me: Me, too

    I love and adore C. Lee. I wish I would have told myself don't dye your hair black it's a pain to reverse! my fav line was that ending, about the girl. it just wraps up things in general. it's so dang true that at so young we get wrapped up in people we think "have it all". they really don't. in fact…no one does. time to move on and worry about ourselves (says the old me) 🙂 congrats on the new book!

    • C. Lee McKenzie on July 24, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      Ah, very nice, Tammy. I'm sure if we all shared out teen experiences, they'd be quite similar. We have to experiment. We have to learn and doing stuff is the only way I know of.

  10. Krystal Jane on July 23, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    I'd so love to have a conversation with teen me…well, actually I have no idea what I would say. Perhaps we'd just stare at each other? Food for thought, yes…Ah, no one's life is perfect. Though I still think that sometimes. Lol! 

    Congratulations to C.Lee! ^_^

    • C. Lee McKenzie on July 24, 2014 at 11:13 pm

      A stare fest might be interesting. Both of me would be thinking, "Who in the heck are you?" 

  11. Emily R King on July 24, 2014 at 5:38 am

    Wonderful conversations to have. I wish I could have a few with my old self! Hindsight is a bugger. 🙂 Congratulations on your new book!

    • C. Lee McKenzie on July 24, 2014 at 11:14 pm

      Try writing your teen self a letter, Emily. You might find out some interesting things. I know I did.

  12. Trisha on July 24, 2014 at 11:07 am

    I love those pictures, Michelle. Thanks for sharing!

    I think I've written a letter to my teen self before, but I can't remember what I said. 😉

    • C. Lee McKenzie on July 24, 2014 at 11:15 pm

      Tiime for another letter, Trisha. There's always room for more letters to yourself. 🙂

  13. Shell Flower on July 24, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Great letter to a teen self. Lee was adorable as a teen. I was much more awkward and nerdy. I would tell my teen self how very soon life changes for the better after high school. Those years that seemed to last forever seem so far away now. I'm definitely going to add Double Negative to my to read list, too.

    • C. Lee McKenzie on July 24, 2014 at 11:16 pm

      Remember, old me chose those pictures. There are some rather nerdy ones I need to destroy before my kids find them and expose them to the world.

  14. Susan Gourley on July 24, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    What a terrific interview and how similar the answers would be for lots of us. How little teenagers know but they're filled with potential.

    • C. Lee McKenzie on July 24, 2014 at 11:17 pm

      Potential is the most important thing at that age. 

  15. Sherry Ellis on July 24, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    I hate snorting things up my nose.  Last thing I snorted was milk, from laughing too hard!

    • C. Lee McKenzie on July 28, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      Your kids probably had a hand in provoking that laughter.


  16. Medeia Sharif on July 25, 2014 at 2:28 am

    I love the pics.


    I look back on my teen years and think "yikes."


    I can't wait to read Lee's book.

    • C. Lee McKenzie on July 28, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      I relate to your character with the hair issue! Of course, I did that bleach thing on my own, but what a disaster.

  17. Michael Di Gesu on July 25, 2014 at 4:04 am

    Hi, Michelle,


    Thanks for featuring Lee today…. I did too! Yes, another intro. LOL. 

    FUN letter, Lee. EEEK teen life. I was  impossible… at times. LOL. My teens were riddled with so much DRAMA. I was teen model and I can tell you stories…. Thankfully I never fell into the drugs thing. COCAINE was rampart back then. Every tablle in every place I went had white powder and a razor blade. Scary, I saw the damage it did to so many of my friends at the time.


    I was clever, but I wish I was more so. I did get wraped up in the whole "fashion" lifestyle. Wouldn't be caught dead wearing anyting but designer clothes and Italian shoes. Now… LOL.. running around in Walmart tanks and shorts. LOL. I CRINGE at designer prices now. To think I got so much for free back then and tossed them after every new season… Yup, I needed a GOOD TALKING TO… 

  18. Gary on July 25, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Hey Michelle!

    Nice angle, Michelle.  However, my teen me was wiser than the older me. Go figure! 

    How incredibly wonderful to have the awesome and yet modest, Lee, featured on your lovely site. Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar, "pawdicts" Lee's book to be a smash hit.  Yep, her books will quite literally fly off the shelves with the aid of some up in the air alligators.  All the beast, um best, to Lee.  As for me, I don't know nothing.

    Enjoy your weekend and hey congrats to everybody.

    Gary 🙂 



    • C. Lee McKenzie on July 28, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      I think you've hit on a splendid idea. I'll do an air lift of my books. I'm sure the alligators will do me a favor. 

  19. Stephanie Faris on July 26, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    I did a Dear Teen Me on that blog, too–it was SO much fun! And I came to the conclusion that I probably really wouldn't have listened to my older self. I loved the conversation!!! That's pretty much how it would have gone if you could have spoken to your teen self.

    • C. Lee McKenzie on July 28, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Glad you did a Dear Teen Me letter. Those are great to write and so much fun to read. You're right about the not listening part.

  20. J.L. Campbell on July 29, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    If I knew then, what I know now …

    I guess that's what life's all about, gaining knowledge and learning not to judge, be self-absorbed, or make the same mistakes as we grow older.

    • Michelle Wallace on July 30, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      Absolutely! But then you DO get those who make the same mistakes… over and over. Seems like some individuals never learn. Thanks Joy!

  21. Julie K Pick on July 30, 2014 at 9:39 am

    This was such a clever idea! If only we had listened to our parents more, or in my case less! Lovely photos Lee! Great job Michelle!

    • Michelle Wallace on July 30, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      I can remember listening to my mom, most of the time. Back in the day, she could discipline us with a "frosty" glance… she didn't have to say a thing – her facial expression did the job! LOL 

      Aren't those photos adorable?  🙂

  22. Michelle Wallace on July 30, 2014 at 5:55 pm


  23. Carrie Rubin on August 2, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    If only we could go back and talk to our younger selves. So much I'd like to say. Then again, would my younger self even bother listening?…

    Thanks for visiting my site. Much appreciated!

  24. Suze on August 5, 2014 at 1:25 am

    That is a lovely photographic chronicle of the mid-to-late teen years!

    • Michelle Wallace on August 5, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      I can't wait to read this one, Suze. Lee is such a great writer.

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