This going to be an interesting post, for some interesting reasons. Today, I’m going to talk about my first ever short story, which is a little gem (or the opposite) written by seven-year-old me. Seven-year-old me was a little adventurous hellion with short blonde hair, a sharp sense of adventure, and a propensity to label people the weirdest names (which would not be the best thing to do in these days).
There was the Crabby Woman, whom I saw as the villain of my second grade experience. During carline, the Crabby Woman slammed doors behind poor little children who had just finished another troubling day of schoolwork when most of us, like me, would most rather have been doing anything else.
Krilla was a nickname for my best friend. What a trashy name, I think to myself, that makes absolutely sense. I don’t know why I screamed around recess time, “Krilla! Krilla! Ha ha, you’ll never catch me!” (She always did.)
Even worse, I nicknamed my poor sister, an adorable fetus in utero at the time, “It.” Like she was a beetle that needed to be squashed. Not that I didn’t love her or not want her to be born, I just had a weird thing with names.
And so my seventh year in life propelled down a river of creativity…
It was the same year I discovered writing.
During lunchtime, I loved talking and throwing food (secretly, of course) at my best buds. While we were a very inclusive group, there were four principal members, and we started a “band.” When I say “band,” I mean that we were four little girls who just wanted to have a sort of club. We recruited two awesome guys to be our bodyguards, and the rest of our class wanted to be part of the “band.”
It grew into a lunch topic. We set aside our normal chatter and discussed confidential band matters, until one day I grew bored with our lack of musicality and watched two lunch workers: A man, whom I coined Tost (misspelled, too), a friendly yet shy cleaning man; and a woman, whom I named Tosterrita, who was never smiling and seemed sad.
I, the weirdo I am, decided I needed to liven up their lives, though they probably had enough liveliness dealing with hundreds of noisy, dirty kids who wanted nothing more than to destroy the spotless lunch room with bad manners and discussion about a non-existent but highly respected band.
My story formed. I went home, told my poor father about the two lunch workers, and took a random notebook from my room that I’d used to scribble awful drawings of the most random things: King Kong, my little sister as a shrimp (she was still “It” at this point in time), a group of aliens named Rat 1, 2, 3, and so on. Weird, weird, weird…
So, over the course of the next few weeks, my story sucked the energy from my soul like a straw in Diet Coke (my favorite drink). I was so happy, so excited to share it with the best audience in the world, my lovely parents and the little It inside my mom. I stood on a pedestal of books and read to my captive audience with the authority of a senator.
Tost and Tosterrita are still themselves, lunch workers at my elementary school, but they fall into a black hole that teleports them to the wild jungles of an unnamed South American land, where they fall in the tropical rainforest and decide to build a tree house together.
(I told you in the headline, this is a total “lol” story.)
A few days after their confession of love, a girl named Katie (me, because I was a selfish little louse) travels through the black hole and ends up staying at the tree house, along with my best friend, Krilla. A few days later, the other two members of our band emerge from the forest, as they have also teleported from a small blot on the Tennessee map.
What sounds like an interesting idea is squashed by the sudden appearance of a friendly King Kong, three protective out-of-towners (the aliens named Rat 1, 2, and 3), and a magical lion named Aslan (I stole this from C.S. Lewis) who defeat an evil demon-type character who tries to slay everyone.
(So this does sound like it came out of the pen of a seven-year-old, okay?)
The story ends as Tost and Tosterrita proclaim their love for each other once more, invite the girl band (oh my llama!) and mysterious creatures to enjoy the beauty of the rainforest… Until the aliens invite the wacky group on a cosmic journey that became my second short story.
You’re not a writer unless you write.
While I applaud my little self’s creative juices, I still think to myself, “Well, I’ve come a long, long way.” I think it is important for writers to constantly write and read from the best writers in the game, but also to read their own works to see the growth within the words of the pen (or in my case, my old junky computer’s Word format to today).
After this short story, to which I tortured my parents and unborn sis, I became an avid writer. I wrote everywhere, at all times, mercilessly, miserably, and happily. There was no better place for me than in a made-up world inspired by Nancy Drew (when I was around ten), magical realism paradises inspired by Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, and Nicholas Sparks-era romance stories by my early tween years (*cringing*).
What I mean is that once a story is written, there will be more to come. Once a stimulus is activated, so to speak, the well of words is released; the dam is useless. Writing, therefore, becomes a habit, just like brushing one’s teeth (hopefully) or filling a car up with gas. Once it becomes a habit, it becomes necessary and important to do.
Without my little story “Tost and Tosterrita,” I’m not sure I would have started writing as furiously as I do now. That may seem ridiculous, because, You could have just written another story in some point in time! But I look back to when I wrote this one. It was the cusp in my literary appetite. I had never known what it meant to web and weave one’s own story before, and I became addicted.
Fast forward thirteen years in the future. I write all the time, and if I don’t, I become an old grouch. I have groomed a muscle to properly work. I’m not at the marathon yet, but I definitely what it feels like to run the mile.
You may not be a writer, but there is something that could be your muscle, one you didn’t know existed before until you work out. (Why am I using this analogy when I definitely don’t work out?) And once you find it, you’ll become as addicted to it as I am addicted to writing. 😉
For the writers out there, it is imperative to write. The following conversation truly irks me.
Me: “Oh, I do write.” (And I never like sharing this, because I am cryptic, though I try not to be.)
Other Person: “Oh, I like to write too!”
Other Person: “So, what do you write?”
Me: “Mostly books, but some short stories.” (LOL THIS WILL BE ANOTHER BLOG POST, I CAN TELL YOU!) “There’s nothing like writing to me. What do you write?”
Other Person: “Oh, I don’t know. I can seem to never finish anything.”
*MONTHS LATER DISCOVERS PERSON DOES NOT WRITE AT ALL BUT PRETENDS TO SO THAT HE OR SHE CAN ONE UP YOU IN CONVERSATION*
Okay, here I go on a rant that I will probably explain later. If you are a writer, you have to write. I may seem a bit sharp and acidic with this, but you’re not a writer unless you write, just like you’re not a pilot if you don’t fly, or you’re not a cowboy without a, well, cow (probably not the best phraseology). Writing –> Writer
It’s not necessarily about the ending, because you’ll get there one day. It’s about the starting line. You have to commit yourself to your craft and your appetite for writing. Once you start, it becomes a whole lot easier to keep it up.
Writing doesn’t happen over night, though night does help sometimes! Writing is a skill, just like learning to play an instrument doesn’t take a few days and then, bam, you’re a professional.
Write! Find your own Tost and Tosterrita, so you can always have a beginning point, a stake in the ground moment, to look back at and say, “This! This is when I discovered what I love!” It works. I promise.
Well, I ranted. I apologize. I just wanted to give you a writing post (or a post about writing) because this is an essential part of me that I wanted to share.
My first story was muy interesante, but we all have to start somewhere. 😉
Thanks again for checking out this blog! I can’t wait to share more.