Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Teenage Self Reminds Me to Keep Writing

While digging in the attic, I found a book full of sibling rivalry, teen angst, and romance.  It was my binder of writing from school.  I set aside the stories using the week's vocabulary words as I didn't have a dictionary handy, and I entered the magical world of my teenage self.

A few stories were typed on my Dad's old typewriter, each letter crisper than a printout can do today.  Some poems were amorphous scribbles crawling across the pages with circles and arrows connecting the rhymes.  Most stories were in soft lilting cursive in pencil.  Teachers must have been so patient to read assignments in cursive.

I loved to write poetry.  This feeling was briefly awakened when we lived in Detroit for a couple years, and I wrote rap on my way to work.  Luckily, it was a short commute, and I didn't force anyone to listen to it on lunch break.   Why don't I feel brave enough to try it now? 

There were also some dark turns in stories not submitted to school.  Had my parents found them they surely would have thought me suicidal.  But I wasn't.  I was just a teenager.  I remember the raw intensity of the emotions.  The opening to this story sums it up:
Lauri Meyers, Children's Book Writer
Camp Tak-a-Wak-a
                "You are 13.  Life is either heaven or hell." - Lauri Christopher 1989

Scraps of ideas for stories and poems on tiny pieces of old calendars and Hello Kitty paper were tucked in the binder pockets.  I also found 5 and 10 minute writing exercises.  I don't remember wanting to be a writer so much I was practicing.  But here was the proof.   

I remembered I actually am a published author.  My fifth grade story Camp Tak-a-Wak-a was published in the local paper over four weeks as part of a youth writing series.   I still have the yellowed pages.   ( I think there is a future post where I get to critique my work...)

I also found encouragement.  On the back of a book of my poems my teacher wrote "Beautifully done.  You have such potential as a writer; don't stop writing! A+."   Yes, ma'am.

Have you had a run in with your teenage self?  Tell me about it in the comments. 


  1. I recently read the inscriptions in my H.S. yearbook. What was written there made me sound so very uptight and uncool. I always sensed this about my teenage self, but now I had evidence proving it, which was most unsettling.

    I'm probably just as uncool and uptight as I was then. But at least these days I'm smart enough to not wander around my circle of friends asking "Wanna sign my yearbook?"

    In short, I refuse to accumulate any more evidence of my shortcomings!


    1. But wait, you are a writer. Isn't part of the job description allowing- nay- begging people to share your shortcomings with you? I sense a post in your future about how submitting manuscripts is like asking the really pretty blonde to sign your yearbook.

  2. When I recently re-read the things people had written in my yearbooks, I couldn't remember the incidents to which they referred. "Remember when we had that amazing night out?!?!" No. Sorry. No recollection. According to my yearbook, I had a lot of secrets, and a lot of fun, in high school.

    1. I suppose that's a sign of a life well-lived since high school. Your mind is jam packed of other amazing memories. (It's best for everyone if we just assume lack of memories has nothing to do with intoxication or old age.)


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