Saturday, January 8, 2011
I'm not a writer; I was just born this way
Now it’s time for a LONG overdue blog entry! Yay!
For some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about my past forays into writing. Even though this is the first time I’ve REALLY truly thought about publishing and what that would entail, I think I’ve been on this train for a long while. Please, join me, in a short (ok, not that short) jaunt down memory lane, where I recount some of my finer literary moments!
A couple years ago, my mum invited me to her house to clean out the bazillions of boxes she has carted around through all of her moves. Most of these boxes were filled with things related to me (I’m an only child so...yeah.) There were home made cards of all sorts and occasions, old school projects that we couldn’t bear to part with, random scribblings, and, of course, many many “stories.” The earliest of these consisted of my pre-literacy attempts, mere scribbles and some random words arranged haphazardly on the page. I’m certain there was a method behind my madness (most lunatics are!) though. Unfortunately, I can’t recall any exact examples now, but suffice to say, it was things like
rAIn boW FLowERbECAUSE she Loved!
and the like. I’m sure I was asking my mum for each letter as I went.
Flash forward a year or two, and I’m in Kindergarten. I was the only child in my kindergarten who could read (not bragging, it was just true.) The teachers actually called my mum in for a conference after one particular disciplinary “incident.” Apparently, I’d written a story (I still remember it - something about a black unicorn named Wildfire scrawled all over one side of a looseleaf paper in my exceptionally messy handwriting) that I wished to read for my show and tell. The teachers refused me that privilege - because it would be bad for the morale of the children, I later found out - and I threw a fit. So, they had to call my mum in and say she had to get me under control and tell me I was absolutely not allowed to read in Kindergarten. Yeah, yay public schools!
Flash WAY forward and I’m in grade 8 with the best, most amazing English teacher I’d ever had. (She even bought me a journal when I moved away to encourage me to keep writing.) One of the poems I’d written in her class was published in a local paper, thanks to her. I wrote so many short stories in her class and used to dream up covers for the novel I’d someday write. She assured me she’d keep her eye out for my book in the coming years. I aim not to disappoint!
Now, we come to grade 10, when I finally buckled down and decided to write my first book. Sort of. I’m not sure whatever happened to that gem. I’d made it to about 60 pgs on WordPerfect (hey, it was the 90s!). It was a very original plot - 16 year old boy falls in love with his homely neighbor who may or may not have been abused. She moves away and he drops into the deepest of deep depressions, which is only turned around when he goes on a massive class trip to the beach. Loads of debauchery ensue, he gets alcohol poisoning, and one of the girls there (the blonde popular one, of course) nurses him back to health. I only remember one choice line, in the scene where he’s about to puke. “Somehow she knew to get me the bowl right at that moment. She knew a lot about what I needed.” Oh yes, I am sorry I lost that masterpiece! :)
The following year, a friend and I decided to write a play called Waiting for Gryphon. I remember bits about the plot - nothing nearly as entertaining as the alcohol-soaked novel of the year before. But, the prep and research that went into Waiting for Gryphon was better than actually writing the thing anyway. :) We wanted to ensure that the dialogue was as authentic as possible, so we spent most of our time carrying around an oldschool tape recorder, like this one and hanging out at local teen squats. Later, we’d listen to the tapes and transcribe the best parts to possibly use in the play. I’m sure all sorts of privacy laws were violated, but it was worth it. We caught some real choice words.
Walking through McDonalds one day, we recorded one woman’s whole rant about her boyfriend, to which her friend responded, “All men are dogs.” A statement that was later corroborated when we got some snippets of a fight that broke out in our high school parking lot. The girl yelled out, “You ain’t got nothin’ but a two inch dick!” Her charming partner hollered back, “And you be chokin’ on it!” You might be wondering how we picked that one up - well, it was no simple task. During the fight, I laid the recorder on the roof of the car while I pretended to dig through the back seat. After the fight was over, my friend held the recorder in her lap under a sweater while we drove past and “interviewed” the girl on what had happened. ...all under the guise of concern. I do have a slight tinge of guilt about that, but hey, it’s not like we posted any of this anywhere public. This was pre-youtube. Otherwise, we might have been tempted! :)
After Waiting for Gryphon ended before it even got started, I moved away from the whole writing thing for most of college and all of grad school. 3 inch text books and 60 page reports can do that to a person.
Anyway, fellow writers, how did you all get started?