Nov 4, 2011
Every story has a beginning, it is like an unalienable right… it can not be taken away. My beginning, as a writer, came unexpectedly during a state mandated short story ‘competition’ in the 8th grade… Yeah, it was just a test, but it was a test of my imagination. I had a fanciful mind that loved to take boring things and twist them and bedazzle them and make them into fun adventures, but I usually kept it hidden away behind an unassuming facade of intelligence. However, this test mandated that I let my imagination take rein. So I let it.
The story was only 2 pages long, but I giggled and grinned the entire time I wrote it. It was a simple story about an awkward teen girl who showed up for a first date at a boy’s high rise apartment for dinner before a homecoming dance. There were candles and delicate hors d’oeuvres and a starry, moonlit view. The romance was palpable. So, when the he leaned in for kiss, she returned it and… their braces locked. They ended up in the emergency room at the end of the night flanked by both sets of parents. She feels shy and more than a little mortified until he reaches over and hesitantly holds her hand.
I remember that none of us found out the scoring on the papers until the final day of middle school. The gymnasium was packed with kids, and awards were being passed out right and left. They had several for perfect attendance, best high jumper, tag students, teacher’s pet (or maybe not), and then they announced the students with the top 5 scores on the state wide writing test. Mandy Duffenshmirtz… Tyrena Huffenflagen… Bob the Tomato… Lily Momo… and with a perfect score in all of the sections… Me.
It was a complete and utter shock to me. I turned about 20 shades of fuchsia and quietly went to accept my award with a mumble and a head nod and promptly went to sit down again, but on the inside I was dancing the jig and singing the Hallelujah Chorus.
I can’t say that I fell into a life of writing after that, because I didn’t. I still tamped down my imagination and pretended not to care, but I never forgot the feeling of writing that particular story. It gave me joy.
And that is the end of the beginning.