When I got to grade school, I was asked to write a story about spring. The Easter bunny seemed a likely subject, but most of my other classmates where already writing about him. So I penned the story of the little known Easter Worm. He wanted it more and worked harder than the bunny because of his disability – what with having no limbs and all. My carefully handwritten story had the honor of being stuck to the fridge with magnets for all to see - alongside my recipe for homemade pizza dough that included detailed directions to ‘pinch the crust as high as mountains’. My mom loved both these stories so much. Although I wrote them over 35 years ago, we were talking about them as recently as 2 months ago.
When I was older, I was prone to ear infections and missed a lot of school. During one of my prolonged absences, I decided to write a story and took a legal –sized pad of paper and pencil with me everywhere I went. The story was about a runaway girl and her pony, and they are stranded in high tide against the bluffs of a beach. Riveting, right? I guess I have a story after all.
My best friend and I were totally horse crazy, and to that end I spent hours of time playing with model horses, playing ‘horse’ at school – which involved lots of galloping around and whinnying, and endless road trips imagining a wild, black stallion running alongside our car, trying to catch a glimpse of the small girl in the back seat. I had an ongoing dialogue in my head about the fantasy horses that I owned and the wacky situations we got ourselves in, while I drove our neighbors crazy as I played hand ball against the side of their apartment for hours: ka-chung, ka-chung, ka-chung.
I’ll end my qualification with two short anecdotes from high school. I’ll elaborate in greater detail later but when I was 16, I got sober. I had an English class where we were required to keep a journal. Our teacher would scan the journals, just to ensure we were actually writing and not just repeating a single word over and over: bewbs, bewbs, bewbs, bewbs.
Obviously, I love writing - so this was a fun, easy requirement. I also found that journaling was very cathartic and I wrote out my beginning experiences as a sober alcoholic. I took the teacher at his word, and also figured no one would be interested in what I wrote anyway. That is, until he returned disclosed that he’d read every word. I was more than a little sketched out – but also flattered…in a creepy way. He’d been touched by my experience and told me that he was rooting for my recovery.