storytime

STORYTIME: A SISTER NAMED “IT”

A few short hours ago, a friend texted me about the upcoming horror movie, It, which is coming to American theaters next month. For those of you who read my previous post about my first short story, you might remember that I used to call my sister It (while she was in the womb, okay!).

Therefore, I thought I would share my sister’s awesome birth story. Okay, maybe not the gritty birth process, because I wasn’t there (thank goodness) to see the doctors slice my mom open and remove a healthy little girl named Genevieve.

So, anyway, before I go on a tangent, I would like to preface this story by saying that I love my sister more than anything, and I am so glad she is on this planet. Therefore, this story is personal, but I love sharing it, because it means so much to me. 😉


STEP 1: PRAYER

On a strange December day in North Carolina, I was born, and my welcome to the world was not a smooth one. My mom was in a lot of pain, obviously, but I did tear her a bit when my big head came out, and my mom was like, “I am not going through that again.”

Therefore, I went through most of my childhood a happy single, spoiled kid. Both parents worked pretty hard, and by the time I was five, my mom gave up her career to stay with me full-time. I don’t remember ever asking for a sibling, because I loved life. Life was good. I had a pet fish, a great batch of school friends (the band people referenced in my short story post), and a healthy appetite for creativity. Friends had siblings, and from what I saw, brothers were gross, and sisters could be annoying.

However…

My dad wanted another kid (can’t blame him for that!). Mom wasn’t so sure. After all, she had been the one to experience the worst trauma of her life to deliver me. I remember Mom talking about law school instead, as she would be the greatest lawyer of all time, but things had a different way of working out.

Our subdivision at the time was one of the classic, traditional neighborhood setups. It was pretty clean, teenagers were loud and obnoxious, and kids played with each other with no fear of predators lurking around. It was a great environment for me.

One early morning while I was at school, Mom went on a walk around the sub, her mind focused on praying, “God, am I supposed to go law school?” It would be a risky commitment to have a young child, husband, and full-time school schedule, but she was up to the task.

Then, suddenly, as she turned a corner, she saw something strange on the ground…


STEP 2: DIAPER

…and it happened to be a DIAPER.

A literal diaper. A baby’s white, clean diaper. (Why would someone leave a clean diaper on the side of the road, I will never understand. Diapers are expensive!)

It wasn’t a gavel on the side of the road, or a briefcase, or some legal paperwork. It was a diaper.

If that didn’t make it clear enough, I’m not sure what else there would have been to convince my mom to try for another baby.

Needless to say, Mom wasn’t going to law school.


STEP 3: THE PREGNANCY TEST

A few months later, on a cheery Saturday morning, I hopped down the stairs and found my mom with a positive pregnancy stick. We both stared at it for a second, and even though I was seven, I knew exactly what it meant. That I was about to be given one of the best blessings of all time.

I remember jumping and screaming and excitement and hugs and so much happiness.

I remember my dad walking in, finding out he was going to be a father again, and hugging us so tightly, with that little baby in Mom’s stomach.

I remember that day, all these years ago, because it meant that I was going to have a little brother or sister to boss around, and I was stoked.


STEP 4: “IT” GETS ITS NAME

This was around the same time I began to write, so I was in my creative zone. I liked telling the baby bump stories, poking it (lol), and saying, “You’re going to be my little sister!”

But I wasn’t 100% for sure the baby would be my sister. For sake of clarity, the baby needed a nickname, because I was sick of not knowing what to call it. Therefore, It. The most creative nickname of all time, straight from The Addams Family, where I had been spooked by Cousin It.

“It!” I would scream at the pregnancy belly. I would share stories about school with It, I would pray over It, and I would ask It if she would be a girl for me.

Weird, I know.

I was actually pretty sad when It got a real name.


STEP 5: HE OR SHE?

Though I wasn’t 100% sure if It was a girl, I was pretty sure. I didn’t worry about having a brother, because I didn’t really think about it. If I had a sister, I’d be able to tell her all my tips, braid her hair (which she still doesn’t let me do!), and tackle her to the ground (I could do the same to a bro, I know). So while Mom had the boy names lined up just in case, I felt that there was no need to consider buying blue baby clothes.

It was a windy day, probably in the early winter, and I emerged from my public school with a big glop of other snotty-nosed children. I ran over to my parents, knowing that this was the gender reveal day.

“Well, what is It?” What a rude question to ask.

They couldn’t hide their smiles. They knew I wasn’t not partial. I wanted a sister.

“Well, It’s a she,” they said.

And I smiled. “It’s a girl. Just like I asked her to be.”


STEP 6: THE DAY OF THE BIRTH

My parents made me go to school while they headed to the hospital for the early morning Caesarian. Of course I was not happy, as I wanted to be there, not necessarily when all the guts came out (LOL), but, “I am the sister! Shouldn’t I be there? I was the one who knew she’d be a girl!”

None of my arguments worked.

I went to school, wearing a t-shirt that Mom had specially made that said GEN’S BIG SISTER in emerald stitching. I was so proud. Other people were like, “You know it’s no big deal, right?” And I would grit my teeth and say, “Whatever.” (There was also a time I got into an argument with my teacher over when a baby is considered a member of the family. That should be saved for another blog post! Seriously, you tell a second-grader that her baby sister in the womb is not part of her family yet?!)

Anyway, my dad visited me at lunch, along with my grandparents.

“She’s beautiful,” they said, their eyes all agleam.

“And when can I see her?” I said, bitterly, mad that I was still at school. (Couldn’t they have at least checked me out?)

I held her a few days later. She was cuddly, warm, and not too shabby. She fell asleep as I rocked her, and she didn’t scream at me, like she’s prone to doing now. I think that because I did spend time with her as a pregnant belly, our connection was stronger as a result.

It had been a long process, from that diaper in the street to the little bundle of joy in my arms, but it wasn’t too long before the little baby grew into a teething toddler, a young drama queen, the sweetest, happiest kid, and a welcoming, stubborn pre-teen.


CONCLUSION

What can I say? My sister and I have come a long way. Gone are the days of calling her “It,” though we still bring it up jokingly. Really, we have become more sophisticated in our nickname tactics. For example, “Roach” is a new favorite.

I am so thankful to have a sister. I honestly feel so blessed, because people are put in your life for a reason! And while she’s not perfect, and neither am I, I can attest to the fact that having a sibling made me much more appreciative of living life to the fullest!

-K.

 

 

storytime

STORYTIME: MY FIRST EVER STORY (lol)

WELL.

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.


THE STORY

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.


SO WHAT?

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!”

Me: “Awesome!”

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.


APOLOGY

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.

-K.