Let Me Tell You a Story…

I’ve been blogging for a long time. Feels like an eternity.
As we all know 3. 5 years = 3,500 in bloggy years.

Hopefully by now you’ve noticed I like to write. I love words. Back in high school I used to look them up in my old dog-eared dictionary for fun on a Saturday night. (I still do, don’t judge) I enjoy the thrill of stringing them together in perfect order then going back to erase, erase, erase because I will never get it just right. Good times.

My love for writing goes way back to my early childhood when I tried to impress my kindergarten teacher with my dazzling wit.

The Maineiac, circa 1975
The Maineiac, age 5

Here’s my very first piece published in the prestigious Morse Elementary School Newsletter, right below a recipe for brownies and above the poem “My Dog Likes to Eat Poop” by Brian, age 6.

I AM THE SUN

by Darla, age 5

IMG_20140107_111616

Did you get chills? Yeah, good stuff.

I mention eating breakfast a lot. I’m thinking my brothers stole my strawberry flavored Pop-Tart again that morning.

Also, I think you’d have to agree I was a crafty storyteller in 1976.  Notice how I lull the reader into a false sense of security until the very last sentence when Bam! I punch them straight in the gut. “If I didn’t shine people could use flashlights”? Why would the sun not shine? Was this a foreshadowing? A child’s bleak vision of an apocalyptic future looming on the horizon? (If this Ice Age we’re currently suffering through is any indication, I think I was spot on.)

But like any good writer, I left the reader with a final message of hope. A sliver of light in the darkness. If I didn’t shine people could use flashlights. Maybe my stories weren’t riveting but at least they were practical.

I also wrote lots of poetry as a kid and into my college years. And as we all know the mark of a good poet is the ability to rhyme.

Check out this nugget I wrote when I was about 8 years old.

IMG_20140107_111835 (2)

IMG_20140107_111913 (2)

A couple things I’d like to point out. First, the drawing — where in the hell are my hands? Or my feet? Is this why I’m so fixated on my nose?

I think we should all just take a moment to realize never before has a poem titled “Smelling” had the ability to move a reader to tears. “It never, ever gets in the way.” So true! The insight I had as a child is astounding. Even the way I spelled “bouquet” was inspiring. Who needs that jerky silent T anyway?

Finally, I’ll leave you with a cartoon panel, my earliest attempt at (intentionally) writing humor. I have no clue how old I was when I drew it but I’m guessing it wasn’t when I was attending college (although, it might be, as I liked to smoke the ganja)

IMG_20140107_111939

“You got celery in my peanut butter.”
“Well, you got peanut butter in my celery.”
“Well, let’s try it!”
“OK”
“Yuck! Awful!”
“You better not say that again about trying it!”

*****

oh!!! Bwah ha ha haaa!!! I kill me! [wiping away tears]

So? You think it’s good? Brilliant? Perhaps you’d even consider it….Super? Celery and peanut butter? I mean, C’MON! Comedy gold.

And you’re right. My writing hasn’t changed much since then.  Sigh.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bloggers/writers: How long have you been writing? Do you have any childhood poems or stories you’d like to send me so I can get a good laugh at your expense? Or old screenplays I can pass off as my own?

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142 thoughts on “Let Me Tell You a Story…

  1. Why did your teacher give you a C and then write “super!”? What the heck? A Super! should get you a B+ at least, yeah?

    I LOVE children’s drawings and writings. My mom saved all our stuff, and it’s just gold. My sister Ashley wrote a thousand “novels” before she turned 12. I posted one page on Twitter a while back… Master of suspense, this kid. https://twitter.com/MiddlestSister/status/408998331005009920/photo/1

    You are ridiculously adorable in those glasses. And your poem about the sun was insightful and moving. I loved this whole, entire post 🙂

    1. Oh I didn’t spot that and I wish I had because I always laugh about the word ‘Super’, it’s like a word that’s just for teachers – who else ever uses it? I thought it was just a UK teacher word, but clearly it’s the world over!

      1. The official term, defined by the state of California, for a car that meets certain strict emission standards is “Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle”. I’ve always suspected that whoever came up with that term was either drunk or eight years old.

    2. ha! I’d LIKE to think she wasn’t writing a C but a mark for “correct” instead of a big red X…? But maybe it IS a C? I am seriously reconsidering my writing abilities now.

      Nicole, I had a blast sifting through my old childhood poems and drawings this past weekend. My mom saved everything! Some of this stuff I had never seen before until now. I also found loads of mysteries I wrote starring me and my best friend as detectives solving neighborhood crime. Complete with illustrations. Cracks me up!

      I can’t wait to check out your sister’s novel. Do you have old drawings or stories that you did too?

      1. TONS of them. So many drawings and poems and stories. Even an entire country I created with a friend, with a list of imports and exports. I was in tears, laughing. Mom also kept every single award I ever won, from pre-school on up. I felt like such a winner after seeing them all 🙂

        My favorite line from one of my stories was “She liked things that had to do with adventures.”

      2. Oh, I love that line! That is awesome you kept so much stuff of yours. I’d love to see the export/import one. My mom also kept all my “awards” from school. Like certificates that said “Best Listener”. or “Best Hand-Washer”

        I had such a good time revisiting this childhood stuff. I sat there last weekend, reading this stuff and weeping I was laughing so hard. It’s like I got to sit down and talk with the five year old me.

  2. Oh Darla, I’d have loved you even as a young girl, despite the fact that your cartoon was a total ripoff of a Reece’s Peanut butter cup ad. Lol. I actually went to a grade school reunion not long ago and someone had a pile of our old papers from about 1980 or so. Pretty fun to read these old nuggets. I enjoyed your proper use of it’s at such a young age too. Kudos, ma’am! Here’s mine – http://donofalltrades.com/2013/11/08/siri-was-a-cat-before-she-was-a-bitch-inside-your-iphone-and-ill-soon-be-rich/

  3. Fantastic! I love the honest innocence of childhood writing, and yours is perfect. I had a poem published in our school magazine when I was a little gal, it was about autumn. I can’t remember the whole thing, but I remember this one line – “Crackle scrunch, crispy crunch, go the leaves as people tread on them.” Wow, such insight, right? Right?!

    1. Right! Ooh, and the way you used those words…all the CR sounds, very lyrical, V!
      I can’t get enough of reading people’s childhood writings. I bet yours were awesome. And you’re right about the innocence, reading all these things I wrote made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

    1. I have some things I’ve ripped up myself from the past. I kinda wish I had kept them now so I can look back. But I did save tons of stuff from my college years. I read my journals now and I think, damn, I really thought I knew it all then, huh?

  4. “I used to be a glow worm, cos glow worms are not glum,
    How can you been downhearted when the light shines out your bum?”
    (classic from my school days in the 60s, but sadly, not one of mine, sigh). Enjoy!

  5. I need to search through my parents’ house and see if I can uncover any of my old writings.

    BTW, any chance you could get a copy of that “dog eating poop” poem? It sounds fascinating.

  6. I’m now sitting here with several flashlights shining on me trying to get warm, but they don’t generate much heat…

    I’m glad you clarified the word “bouquet” because at first I couldn’t figure out what that word was and it threw off the whole rhyming thing for me and killed the impact. But once I figured it out, man, that’s some powerful stuff. It’s remarkable that you didn’t have a literary agent back then!

    1. What I love about the word “bouquet” is how I obviously erased it several times, then tried to cover it up by writing it darker so maybe the teacher wouldn’t notice I forgot the T.

      How cold is it where you are, Steve? Today here in Maine it’s five! Bust out the swimsuits!

      1. This morning its STILL hovering around zero degrees or below, but expected to get up to the teens today! YAY! And up to the 30’s by the weekend. All the schools around here have been closed all week so the kids are STILL on break. Should be back tomorrow hopefully. Roads keep getting drifted over, its too cold for road salt to do any good and the wind chills have been too cold for kids to be outside at bus stops or walking to school. Thankfully I’ve been working at home this week. Stay warm!

      2. Oh my god in heaven. The kids had THIS week off too? Oh, the humanity!
        We have the same problem with road salt not working because it’s minus 1000 degrees. I walked the kids to the front of their school this morning and on the way back to my car I felt my eyeballs freeze.

  7. How wonderful that you have all those things you wrote in childhood. I have a sneaky suspicion that your cartoon came out about the same time the reeses you’ve got chocolate in my peanut butter commercials came out (speaks towards that ganga) but yours is MUCH funnier.

          1. I can’t believe I’m wishing for summer. God knows what that’s gonna be like. The July 4th headline reads: Scorched Earth Vortex Cancels Parades Across America.

          2. I know. These weather extremes are a bad sign. I think when the news headlines start using the term “vortex” we can all finally realize this planet is screwed. (well, we are screwed, the planet will probably be just fine)

  8. These are great! I distinctly remember writing a poem about a girl dying of hypothermia in middle school, it was for health class and we had to be creative in how we explained to the teacher what we had learned. It so morbid but I got an “A” and I was so damn proud of that poem. haha

  9. But peanut butter and celery is practically gourme! Nah, I never did understand it, either.

    This is great. My mom just found a letter that I’d written when I was 7, and she sent me a copy because she thought it was really impressive. So obviously I’ve been gifted my entire life.

    1. I think peanut butter and celery taste wonderful now that I’m an adult. The trick is to just suck off all the peanut butter then throw the celery away.

      Aw, I REALLY would love to see that letter, JD.

  10. Melanie

    I need to go find my second-grade “journal”. It was this book the teacher sewed together for each student with all of our creative assignments inside. It was meant to be a keepsake, but it’s probably cultivating colonies of dust mites in an unprotected box in some closet or another. It would be fun to flip through that and remember my first attempts at storytelling. I forgot all about that book. Thanks for the reminder.

      1. Melanie

        My second-grade writing will likely be cute. My college writing, puke, I don’t even want to know what misused big words and convoluted sentence structure lives in those things as evidence of a long-gone wont to impress horned-rimmed glasses and tweed jacket wearing professors.

  11. That’s so great you have all this stuff from your past! Wow, makes me sad about all the things I’m throwing away of my son’s. Anyway, great post, and glad you are writing! Yours was one of the first blogs I subscribed to when I started blogging early last year (coming up on my one year mark!) and your writing has been inspiring to follow!

    1. I’ve been saving lots of my kids’ stuff, but it’s hard as we are in a small apartment and don’t have a lot of room. I’m try to save at least a few things from each year they’re in school though.

      Congrats on your upcoming one year blogoversary!

  12. I’m going to have to look around at home for something to send you. These were GREAT! 😀 My son actually does a decent job of illustrating cartoons, but his sense of humor leaves a little to be desired. Too bad I don’t know how to upload a picture into a comment…

  13. Pingback: My First Book I Never Published | Girl Filth

  14. This is adorable. I wish I had some of my stuff like this from when I was a child. My mom barely kept anything. WTF? Didn’t she know that it would be great blog fodder back then? Geesh

    1. yeah! How dare she not see the potential for entertaining your future blog readers?? I never knew I had this early kindergarten stuff, I just discovered it in an old shoebox at the bottom of my mom’s tote. It was like I had won the lottery.

  15. Good, bad, what have you, this all just makes me happy! Tee-hee!

    I had one terrible . . . I mean, lovely . . . poem I wrote in second grade, but that got lost in my mom’s cleaning up. After that, I started keeping my own stuff in sixth grade. I’m sure it’s . . . magical. Yes, that.

  16. That word was “bouquet”? I thought it was “bouger”. Either way, that is some powerful poetry. I am moved to tears, sitting here thinking of the reason for my very existence. Yeah, that’s what you did to me, Dara Angelou.

    I wanna know how you have so many examples of your stellar writing from your childhood back in the Stone Age. Does your mom have a shrine to you?

    1. The only reason I knew it was bouquet and not bouger was at the bottom of the page was my lovely drawing of a sad looking vase of flowers. I didn’t include them because I didn’t want you guys to laugh at me.

      My mom also kept everything from all my five brothers too. Maybe I should get the show Hoarders to come visit?

  17. So, the sun goes where the Virginia is and also goes down on the ground? Damn, that sun sure is a slut!

    Obviously, you were brilliant and adorable at a young age. So, I sort of hate you for that. I’m STILL neither adorable NOR brilliant. :p

    And, my house burned down when I was 18, so any hilarity my childhood writing would have created for you has sadly gone up in ashes.

  18. “Sometimes I go ‘way off where the Virginia is.” If I didn’t already love you as an honorary sister, this would do it for me. Also, DUDE—we had the same glasses. Swear to god, same glasses. I’m pretty sure we would have been BFFs if we had been in school together.

    1. What’s really funny is that is the line that got me the most too. “way off where the Virginia is.” I broke so many rules with my writing even then. We really are psychic sisters!

      And I still have those glasses. As a matter of fact, they were in the box with all my stuff and I have a picture of my daughter wearing them. I’ll have to insert it in my comment…..

          1. AWWWWW!!!!

            I had braids and super long hair in middle school. Are there any of you with the Dorothy Hamill hairdo later on, cuz I have a lovely photo of myself sporting that haircut circa 1979

      1. Did I ever tell you my hair is naturally curly? Like ridiculously curly (mostly frizzy). If I let it go without putting gel in it and blow drying the shit out of it, it will curl up like Shirley Temple.

        And….HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

  19. Pure gold! Though I’d have to disagree with “Smelling” as my big nose DOES get in the way. 😉
    I remember my first poem ever…it was about bugs…BUGS! Because “all creatures are beautiful.” I know, I’m so ashamed.

  20. Nice to know I’m not the only one who likes to look up words in the dictionary for fun.
    And your childhood writing is an awful lot like mine. I still have some stuff I wrote back in elementary school; you’d probably get a kick out of it.

    1. I still like to look up words. Mainly because my memory isn’t like it used to be. What does “memory” mean again?

      I actually have the same big red dictionary I had when I was in high school, it’s all worn and torn and I love it so much.

  21. Brilliant. I just love it — and the fact that your mother saved everything.

    I read that FDR’s mother saved everything too, knowing he was going to amount to something wonderful. So you are in excellent (progressive!) company, my dear friend.

    My mother apparently knew I was a loser. She didn’t save a damn thing.

    Sigh.

      1. There are so many issues to take up with Mom next time I see her!

        Oh and I kept everything of Jacob’s. I’m pretty sure he won’t become president, though. Given that he was born inChile!

  22. I must say that I am quite impressed by your young talent. I have nothing from elementary school. My mother saved nothing. But I have a few pieces I wrote in a 10th grade creative writing English class. A few years back I re-read some of them, and I’m impressed. Thanks for sharing your early work!

  23. Love this post! I’ve also been writing since I was small and it’s so fun to go back and look at pieces of writing from your youth. I’m always amazed at how frank and to-the-point many of our younger selves are in our writing.

    I keep an old manuscript with me that I wrote in the 7th grade. I went through it a few months ago and I died laughing. It’s a “novel” about a middle school girl, her middle school boyfriend, and her middle school dramas. My idea of romance at the time was a dinner date at Pizza Hut at 5PM followed by a free skate at the local roller rink. The whole thing is just so middle school and it makes me giggle hard. Here’s a link:

    1. Ooh! A novel about middle school dramas!! My favorite kind of drama. I had a couple books written about middle school. I was part of a crime-fighting detective team (naturally) Thanks for the link.

  24. Haha I love that you shared these with us. Pretty classic! I’ve been blogging for 5 years (4 on this blog) and I love it! It does feel like a long time, you’re right. I like your writing, it’s refreshing.

  25. Classic writing! Loved this! By the way, your hands were tucked up in your sleeves, because we know that Maine is chilly and sometimes you have to tuck your hands inside your sleeves. Your feet were not showing because you were standing in tall grass. Great stuff! Have wanted to write all my life… first book was about a woman who murdered her husband and turned into a black widow spider… get it? Widow? Dangerous? I know… I haven’t improved much either…

    1. I’ll have to steal that riveting plot for the screenplay I’m working on right now. It’s set in a large waiting room and the characters keep entering, then one by one their names are called and they leave. The end.

  26. This makes me want to dig out some of my old stuff! Ah, so priceless. I’m sure this makes you want to save every funny or cute thing your kids bring home.

    I wrote entire novels. One notebook is filled with completely ripped off story lines from Sweet Valley High (I was less discerning then). I wrote another novel about a girl living on the prairie…hmmmm…9-year-old Rachel wasn’t much of an original thinker.

    1. So you and I were both masters at ripping stuff off. I have never read a single Sweet Valley High book, can you believe it? But I still have all my old Little House books in a big tote ready for Julia to read one day.

  27. Every time I read “hopefully by now you’ve noticed I like to write” (and we are talking probably four times here) I would get The Humpty Dance stuck in my head and have to come back to your blog after I finished singing it. Kudos.

    1. Sometimes I wonder if my readers realize this blog is my attempt at writing. I think the fact it’s technically called just “blogging” somehow devalues it. Oh well, I’ll keep on keeping on. Thanks for reading.

  28. You have kept those in great condition, maybe my mother has mine still. I won’t count on it as they banished all memory of me when I moved out and turned my bedroom into an office.

    Love the flashlight comment, I’ll remember that if and when the sun implodes.

    I loved to write but it was always silly, I did find one puberty guide that I made at school and published that on my blog a year or so ago. My teacher flunked for it being rude, I was only opening up a line of discourse for things effecting me and my schoolfriends 😉

    I wanted to be a journalist but after working for a newspaper I was just sent to report on Women’s Institute events or sit in at court and report on the cases. Sounds ok, but there was only so many bakesales I could write about or how David Sharpe from Seaford Road was fined £150 for shoplifting nappies.
    They weren’t the breaking stories I envisaged.

    1. IF the sun implodes?! Yeah, I recommended you stock up on flashlight batteries pronto.

      I remember reading your puberty guide! Classic stuff. And I would kill for that bake sale writing job. If I ever get any job that involves writing I would die a happy woman.

  29. Snoring Dog Studio

    Oh, gosh. I had to laugh. I see a little rhinestone who became quite a gem. Keep writing, Darla. You give me such delight!

    1. Ooh…so you have some of your old stuff saved? I wanted to post a few of my “mysteries” I wrote when I was 10, but there are just too many. I have notebook after notebook chock full of stories and (bad) illustrations.

  30. Looks like the sun and I have something in common, since I also enjoy a good visit to “the Virginia.” I also appreciate that while Virginia got the respectable royal we treatment, Florida is just Florida and certainly not “the Florida.” That kindergarten Darla already understood that my state is reserved solely for rednecks, old people, and drifters and merits no respect shows her keen insight.

    1. Haha! Yeah, Florida would never ever be considered The Florida. I used to live there when I was 7. My only memories involve finding cockroaches in our bathtub and visiting Disney once and riding the monorail.

  31. Fantastic! My mom used to finish every school assignment of hers with “And that is all/ I have to go to the mall”. Literary genius!

    Now I’ll have to rummage through my old things and see if I have any writerly gems to show off. Love these, Darla.

  32. You had quite the imagination early on Darla. I love that your mom saved all of these gems for you and us. Now lets discuss the”C” on that comic strip…what the hell is that about? I’ll assume it stands for “Creative!”

  33. I love you, Darla. Your words are witty and wonderful, and nothing could top your sun poem. Except maybe the line about your nose never getting in the way. I have missed you! Glad to know you are thriving in this otherwise inhospitable place. Kidding! I love Maine. 😉 happy new year and all the very best!

    1. Hey!!! Sooooo good to “see” you! I’ve missed you too! And your comment made my whole week.

      isn’t this “January thaw” the best?? I could get used to this. We finally got that five inches of solid ice to melt in our driveway this week. Yahoo!! Happy new year to you and your gorgeous family!

  34. The only real piece I have was from when I was about five. This is from memory, so please forgive me:

    I’ll take a photo of me with a mug,
    maybe I’ll wear sunglasses
    and have a coffee cup-thing
    that will have plad on it. [I liked plaid even then, but couldn’t spell it.]

    Hopfully noon [I meant “no one”] will els take a picture like that.
    And I will be a very serius writer.
    In conclusyun, the end!

    Yeah, I’ve come ALONG way from back in the dark ages, haven’t I?

    Now I have to look back and see if I have anything in the things my mom gave me not long ago. I don’t think I can top “I Am the Sun” though.

    And I’m so glad that your mom saved those for you. So much fun!

    1. Wow, you have improved with your writing, MJ! I am impressed. Please, look back and dig some old stuff up, it’ll be a hoot. I have to thank my mom for saving all this stuff, it’s priceless. I do save quite a bit of my own kids’ artwork and I know they’ll appreciate it one day.

  35. I’m amazed that you not only still have this stuff, but that you actually know where it is. If I had to give the bank a copy of last year’s tax return, it would take me three weeks to find it. (We have a folder in the file cabinet labeled “Tax Returns,” but it would be stupid to put it in there.)

    I love that the robots are on the Moon and arguing about celery and peanut butter. But the C wasn’t your grade, was it? I remember teachers using the letter C as a check mark, as though it were some kind of time-saver. They must have learned that in one of their workshops.

    1. You always make me laugh.

      And yes, you are right! I seem to remember teachers back then used the C as a check mark. I was really hoping someone else remembered that too so I wouldn’t have to worry my writing is only worth a C grade. I can rest easy now.

  36. I am glad your teacher atleast wrote super on your great poem, I have had a different experience. I once wrote a page long poem for my teacher on teacher’s day but the very next day I saw her tearing it and throwing if off.

    From that day onwards I write and send stuff to my teachers to ensure that they have a sleepless night, how much can she discard…*grins devilishly*.

    Anyways, I would be glad if you could have a look at my blog, I tell you my teacher was wrong it isn’t half as bad! I am sorry for not being subtle enough, I am on a blog promoting spree!

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