Day 8: How old were you when you started writing? What did you write?
I started writing in grade school. To be honest, memories of my earliest work are vague, but here is what I recall:
1st or 2nd grade
I wrote a short story having to do with Halloween and ghosts. I found ghosts to be simply fascinating at the time and, along with writing about them on paper, may or may not have scribbled the occasional crayon illustration on my wall…
As would portend to much of my future writing, however, I grew frustrated with the piece and never finished it. Two hours is a LONG TIME for a six year old to keep her butt in the chair!
Although I didn’t know what it was until a good seven or eight years later, it was at this age that I first wrote fan fiction. I was BIG into Judy Blume and her Fudge books at the time and my favorite character from them was Sam. I remember admiring Sam’s mischievous genius—particularly the way he once pretended to dislike all his pajamas just so he could see, with each item he refused to wear, the looks of frustration on his parents’ faces grow crazier and more disgusted. He found it amusing. This scheming prankster was one of my childhood heroes and I determined to pen more misadventures for him.
I also remember envisioning (but never actually wrote) the first scenes for a book that would be comparable to Jaws. I resolved that people would read this book and be astonished a nine-year-old had written it. I imagine I was also proud that I knew what ‘astonished’ meant.
Influenced by my favorite 2nd grade book Ghost Horse (which I have since searched for and been unable to locate—the author’s name was something like Jannie Lee Simner or Janie Lee Simmer…) and other horse adventure books, I started my very own story of a girl and her magical horse. NO JOKE. THEY COULD COMMUNICATE TELEPATHICALLY AND EVERYTHING.
It was around this time that I made my first earnest attempts at poetry. I wrote about deep and meaningful subjects such as starlight, snowfall, and the laundry monster that ate all my socks.
Many years and many more writing endeavors have passed. I’d like to think I’m a little more grounded these days (none of this sock monster, superhorse nonsense) but I do still tend to begin many more projects than I am humanly capable of finishing. Three chapters into a novel I start a short story that takes me over a month to write the first draft of and then somehow, in the middle of that, I decide it’s a good idea to start an offbeat and possibly publishable third project. True story; this is my current predicament. Somebody slap me!