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:
"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.