Do you often look back to when you first started writing? I do. Sometimes it surprises people when you tell them you wrote your first story or essay at the age of 10, but how is it any different from all these very talented children beginning to write their own songs, learn to play instruments and develop a phenomenal voice at such young age?
I was ten, I must have just entered fifth grade, though for some odd reason I have a memory of still being in elementary school, when writing my first very short shortstory. How can you trust one memory when another tells a different tale? And both in the same head…
I’ll stick with it for purposes of ease–I was ten when I began putting my fantasy on the paper. The first of my stories, as I recall, was about some robber band at a crossing and an old lady at a window in her house. That’s pretty much all I can remember. There was another story I wrote either right after or simultaneously. My mom always expressed how proud she was and how much she liked my writing – just the kind of stuff a young girl needs to hear to keep doing what she loves the most. I was so excited that I took the loose, handwritten pages and glued their left sides together, so that they would appear like a little book. Ain’t that cute! Then I lent them to one of my mom’s friends who was staying at our house for a weekend or so. I remember she commented on them, but I was and still am very sad that I never saw my stories again after having given them to her. They somehow got lost. Maybe she kept them without permission thinking it was a gift, or maybe it got lost in my sister’s bedroom (the room our guest was staying in). Whatever the case may have been – my stories had found their way into the endless vortex of chaos, where lost things go. (digressing from the topic a little here: do you sometimes swear you had something and then could never ever find it again? My mom always said “The house loses nothing” – yet things remain lost sometimes, and you just know that they were in the house last you had seen them)
I remember soon afterwards I took one of my little notebooks (those your mommy buys you for elementary school), and made it my goal to fill the whole notebook with only one story! It was probably like ten or twenty pages haha – but for a small girl that’s a lot, and I wanted to make my mom proud! I came up with a story about a pig that was searching for something – I believe it was friendship, but I truly don’t remember. The pig walked from one place to another in search of whatever it was that it hoped to find. On its way it spoke to plants and other animals. I wrote the story and at the bottom of each page I drew a picture, with colored pencils, of the pig and its encounter. I think we can all agree here that the proper usage and dividing of space for a story and picture per page, or the success of doing just that, is quite amazing for a girl that age. And I recall I loved how my drawings looked – I was quite proud of them.
Here is a funny thing about my pig-story, before we get to the sad part: I named my pig and thus the story “Hamlet”. Well… what do you say about that? Let me tell you this: back then I had no idea who Shakespeare was or what he had written! I was convinced that I had made that name up. And it fit so perfectly well – there was no other name that pig possibly could have had. Hamlet=pig and pig=Hamlet – it seemed like carved in stone to me then. No reality or truth other than that existed. That’s not what my thoughts told me-that’s how I felt then.
Well, here is the sad part: I lost that one too! Sometimes I really want to cry about it, because I can still occasionally feel the love I had for this one. When my parents seperated, I visited my father every 2nd weekend of every month, and one of those weekends I took my Hamlet story with me, to show it to my dad. It never made it back home… my dad and I searched for it but we couldn’t find it. I was devestated then! And today simply disappointed in myself, maybe a bit heartbroken. This wasn’t some friend who was here to visit. This was my dad’s place. However, I have to be honest concerning that: I did not and do not blame my father. Oddly enough I blame no one but myself.
So… tell me about your beginnings. If you’d like.