March 29, 2002
I've been thinking about my
I've been thinking about my history as a writer. I've got more of one than I realized. I remember trying to write plays in elementary school, mostly because I wanted to stage them with my friends. I wrote my first 'real' story at the age of 11, a 20+ page handwritten tale about a high school band called Phoenix (imagine my pleasure when, many years later, I discovered a marvelous filk group called Phoenyx). It took me nine months to write, because even then I had horrific writing habits. My story was probably about on par with the Sweet Valley High books (which hadn't made their debut yet). It was trite, silly, and was written for the express purpose of having my heroine (who was an idealized version of how I wanted to be at 16) live a marvelous life where she had a great band, a great boyfriend, and got to sing for my idols, the rock band Journey. (Shut up.)
Still, I finished it, and even envisioned a trilogy where things did not remain so idealistic. The first story, which was called "As the Nightingale Sings" (again: shut up), was all about how Phoenix got discovered and released their first hit. The second story, which mercifully remained untitled, was going to be about their rise to superstardom (Britney Spears eat your heart out), and third story was going to be about the perils of being a rock band. I planned to use some gritty subject matter in that one: one of the band members was going to develop a drug habit. When I finished the first story I was in seventh grade, and I did what any seventh grade brain would do with a finished story: I gave it to my English teacher to read. She was enthusiastic and encouraging and my need for approval was fed.
A few other stories followed, including a science fiction story about a man with telekinetic powers who lived on a world where science was god, and so was exiled for the crime of having ESP. It was a pretty dark story for a 12 year old, complete with stoic heroes, dead girlfriends, rigged trials, prison planets, and a galactic uprising. Lest you think I was some sort of prodigy (cause I still think the idea was pretty cool), our hero died near the end, only to discover that it was (say it with me) "all just a dream!", after which he walked out his front door into a world where everybody had ESP. That one I gave to my eighth grade English teacher, and ran into my first experience with a real critique. I realize now that I didn't want a real critique, I wanted someone to fawn. Needless to say, I didn't take well to the perfectly valid criticism, and I never rewrote the story. (It wasn't until adulthood that I'd develop my tendency to edit to death.)
I stopped writing fiction shortly after that. I'm not sure why. Too busy, I suppose, being a teenager and growing up. I still wrote poetry, usually angsty with all sorts of theatre metaphors, because I was a theatre geek. I had a few of them published in the annual high school "literary" magazine, which I think I still have somewhere. I remember them being pretty cringeworthy. It wasn't until I got seriously into RPGs that I started writing fiction again. I even startled myself and wrote a poem here not so long ago. I don't think I'm ready to share that one yet. It's funny, when I was a kid, I'd show my poetry to anyone in the world, but didn't even want to admit to writing stories. Now it's the other way around.Posted by Lisa at March 29, 2002 06:17 PM