Marijuana, weed, reefer, grass, Mary Jane, doobie, dope, hooch, and pot are just a few names. Depending on your generation one or more of these names sounds familiar or even dated. I grew up in the eighties so weed or grass is what I knew. That is not an admission to ever doing the drug. Whether you smoked it or not, you knew the names.
So what the heck does this have to do with writing?
I have a character that smokes weed and I ‘m not sure if by calling it “weed” that makes me, as the author sound…old. Yes, I realize the title to my post makes me sound old anyway but…I am. Ancient if you ask a teen I’m sure. Most of the time I avoid using “cool” trendy teen lingo that can date my book or me. The last thing you want to do is write a YA novel and use a term or phrase that your target audience can’t relate too.
I remember in high school watching this black and white movie on television late one night about “Reefer Addicts.” It was a 1950’s serious attempt at creating a movie to discourage teens from smoking marijuana. Now I agree, smoking marijuana is not good for you but they depicted the “reefer addict” to look like a strung out woman on never ending acid trip. My best friend and I laughed so hard we peed our pants. I don’t want my readers to look at my book as a joke.
But there are some cases in my writing that if I could use a relatable term, it would really round out my scene. It will be a few years before my boys become teenagers (I’m scared) and let’s hope by then I’m published. So asking my kids is out. So how do I find out these words? What do you do when you have a groovy whack scene you want pimp out with sweet verbiage, man? Oh that’s just sad, yo.