My Earliest Writing Memories

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I freely admit that I am terrible at remembering many of the details of my own childhood.  There are reasons for this which continue to manifest themselves in the fiction and poetry I write.  Nevertheless, I DO recall my earliest writing memories.

It was back in the early 1980’s when I middle school and the Halloween, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street slasher-style movies series were just gaining in popularity.  (I hate to admit now that as a kid I think I’d seen them all.)  As a parent now I cringe at the idea that my own parents let me see such movies at that age.  This was also the time of the film Red Dawn and the television mini-series V (linked here as they are likely lesser known).  These all served as constant source of conversation around my 7th grade lunch table.  Somewhere along the line I got the idea to write some of my own.  However, in my versions my friends and I would be the heroes and the kids and teachers we didn’t like would be the victims.

Even though I crafted countless imaginative and gruesome ways for the people I didn’t like to die (lots of interesting things happened in the shop class!) I was in no way a “dangerous” kid.  It’s interesting to consider that a child in school today doing what I did back then would be expelled and possibly even charged with a crime. {sigh}

Nevertheless, I would spend some time in the evening writing a “chapter” or two then read them aloud to my friends the next day during lunch.  (Quietly of course so the kids we didn’t like wouldn’t overhear.)  Incidentally, a few close friends and I even crafted a game (played on notebook paper) based on the ‘V’ television series.  There were rooms to search, objects to seek, caches of red powder to discover and use (you’d have to have seen it the program to understand), and Visitors waiting in ambush when you’d least expect it.

I do remember writing one other story in middle school which preceded my lunch table writing.  This one was actually an assignment to write a Christmas story.  I remember writing what I thought was a really funny one about the Christmas that Santa got drunk and couldn’t deliver any presents so one of his reindeer had to step up and save Christmas.  Unfortunately, my English/Lit teacher decided it wasn’t appropriate.  She began reading it aloud then stopped in the middle,  informed the rest of the class that it was “garbage” and then gave me a failing mark on it.  That one took quite a while to get over which probably explains why I started killing off teachers in my later work.

So there you have it.  Those are my first real memories of writing creatively for an audience.  My friends would give me feedback on the parts that they liked and parts they didn’t.  Over time I learned how to leave the story hanging at the end of lunch so they’d want me to read more the next day.  Regardless of the . . . er, questionable nature of the subject matter, it was very rewarding and a lot of fun!

What about you?  What are your earliest writing memories?

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9 Responses to My Earliest Writing Memories

  1. Kate says:

    The Santa story sounds hilarious!

  2. Kaitlin says:

    What a creativity stifling teacher! You were brave–I never was brave enough to share my writing with friends as a kid!

  3. Amanda Hannah says:

    Love it! I think all ‘evil’ characters share traits with the kids we really didn’t get along with. And I so want to read your Christmas story 🙂

  4. CoryLeslie says:

    What an awful teacher! No teacher should humiliate a kid like that. I’m glad you kept writing!

  5. Kristin says:

    I watched those movies as a kid, too, then spent the rest of my life with night terrors and an inability to separate fact from fiction. O_O No way my kids are watching them, lol.

  6. Sadly, I no longer have the Santa story, although I suspect I would cringe if I read it today.

    In retrospect, I can understand if my teacher didn’t want to share my story with the class if she felt it was inappropriate, but there are SO many better ways she could have handled it than the way she did.

    At times like that I just keep thinking of the quote from Paul Bettany, as Geoffrey Chaucer, in the movie A Knight’s Tale:

    “I will eviscerate you in fiction. Every pimple, every character flaw. I was naked for a day; you will be naked for eternity.”

    Sure it’s passive/aggressive, but it always makes me feel better. 🙂

  7. Marquita says:

    I can imagine a few English teachers I work with doing the same thing to what sounds like a perfectly good response to a writing assignment! I would have loved to read something so imaginative. I am like you in the sense that I was (and still am) inspired by horror/thrillers. However, when I was a young adult I was a little too scared of the Freddy Kruegers (hmmm, still am) to imagine his movies while wriitng. I wrote a lot of high school based stories and novels and a few poems- check out my full post if you get a chance here:

  8. Anna says:

    I wonder if the teacher was so startled by the subject matter that she overreacted? Still, a pox on her for cutting down your writing like that.

    I have very vivid early middle school memories of writing a novel that was a rip-off of Sweet Valley High. It was about triplets, though, so I was convinced it was completely different.

    • Interestingly enough, when it comes to movies I can’t stand the whole slasher/horror film genre now. I LOVE a good suspense thriller (e.g. The Sixth Sense, Signs, etc.), but nothing with gore or gratuitous violence. Even with award winning films, like Gladiator, I find myself fast-forwarding through the truly bloody stuff. It’s funny how our tastes and sensibilities change over time. (I suspect having children also had a lot to do with it!)

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