Monthly Archives: January 2012

Messed Up Stories Continued

Seventh grade didn’t start out so well. I hated science. I hated math. They were impossible. I remember feeling so overwhelmed that I simply didn’t hand in some kind of math project involving note cards– a parent-teacher conference ensued. My parents elected for me to get weekly “progress reports” in all my classes, which I was incredibly miffed about, feeling like my every move was under scrutiny.

I should also mention that I was very busy outside of school. I had recently gotten accepted into the state’s major ballet company, which meant I had to take extra lessons on top of rehearsals and performances several times a year. I had also taken up horseback riding lessons again over the summer, although that privilege was taken away  until my grades improved. I know, first world problems. So, put those time consuming activities along with trying to maintain all A’s and B’s in my classes, and my schedule was chock full. As someone who now loves her down time, I have no idea how I did this and stayed sane.

No big surprise that I craved some kind of outlet, and that meant creating more stories. I returned to Whisky’s life, who now, because she was an orphan (though no longer an alien), was living with a new guardian and again had horses. But as much as I liked her and coveted parts of her life, as a story, it was pretty dull. I needed to add another character into the mix, but who?

I am grateful for two disparate events which occurred to me at school that year.  I was randomly called to Guidance one day,  asked to show around a new girl. Her schedule had been mirrored off of mine so she would always have someone “there.” I was just fine with this, but she and I just did not gel. She wasn’t mean, although she did kind of act like I was unnecessary. It was pretty obvious we weren’t bound to be friends. ::shrug::

The second thing happened in English class. This was one of my best subjects; I paid attention, did my work, everything was cool. One day, fed up with a group of disruptive kids in the back corner of the room, the teacher ordered some of them to switch seats with those of us up front. Guess who got moved back. Not that I cared. . . I’d been moved closer to the kid I’d had a crush on forever.

Fast forward to the next class. I got there early, sat in my new seat. The kid with whom I was asked to switch with came in, came to where I was sitting. He told me to move. I reminded him that  he was sitting up front now. He argued that it was only for that day. I said I didn’t think it was. When I went back to reading my book or whatever, obviously not intending to move, the kid decided to make me– he pushed the chair over with me in it. Angry and literally bruised, I silently gathered up my stuff and went to my old seat, pretending nothing happened. And then guess who had to move back up front anyway as soon as the teacher came in. ODD. @_@

Both of those situations got my mind cranking. What would happen if *Whisky* had to show around a new kid, but instead of merely being unfriendly, he was actually horrible to her for no apparent reason. My situation but kicked up a notch or two. How could I incorporate the chair scene? The idea delighted me, and after some pondering and some other serendipitous events, Randi Hirst was “born.”

Although I began dreaming up the story in my head that year, it wasn’t until tenth grade that I actually started typing them out. I’d hide away in my Dad’s office at our first computer,  listening to Green Day’s Kerplunk! through the CD-ROM player as I worked.

There have been hiatuses, sure, but I haven’t stopped creating their stories since.

My characters’ lives happen in real time, starting in 1993.  They age, they wait for big events to happen, sometimes they die, from natural causes or not. Friends, significant others, and pets come and go. Their lives have ups and downs, just like anyone’s.

Although much of their story has been typed out,  the chapters are scatter shot and there is much to be completed that will mend them all together. I do not intend to quit writing about my characters ever. . .they are me. . .not that I’ve experienced everything they do, not by far. But I truly can’t imagine life without them– if anyone else ever enjoys reading my stories, so much the better.

And hey, Whisky– during those time your life starts to suck, look at it this way: at least I didn’t leave you dead in a packing crate en route to Australia.

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My Stories Have Always Been Messed Up

Disclaimer: I actually had a good childhood

First grade, on a large piece of paper, the kind that was only lined at the bottom so you had room to draw a picture on top. I believe the story was called “The Bobcat” or something else benign. Gist of the tale: My Dad and I went camping, but before going to sleep I noticed a bobcat. So my Dad shot and killed it. Remember, there was a picture with this.

Third grade. Each week we did a creative writing exercise. At the end of the year, these stories were combined into a little anthology of sorts.  I titled the thing “My Meow Book,” a crudely drawn cat, horse, bird and other things on the cover talking about how good this book was. At least I had confidence, right? From the looks of it, my anthology should have been full of cheesy stories about cats and other animals romping about.

Yeah, well. Most of the stories *are* silly, the kind of things you’d expect a third grader to write about horseback riding, a trip to Epcot center, a poem about a turkey for Thanksgiving. But a few of the stories have a decidedly darker turn, with characters drowning, being packed into crates and dying from lack of food or air, or that were just plain depressing. I’m lucky this was back in 1989-1990. . .I’m sure nowadays I would have gotten dragged to the child psych. :p

One of my characters from this set of macabre tales particularly stood out to me: Whiskers, an alien from a planet of half cat-half humanoids who was discovered here on Earth (she was the ill-fated person later packed in a box). You could say that Whiskers, or Whisky, became my alter ego. I thought up a pretty awesome life for her. She did ballet and Girl Scouts and all the things I did, but she was also a naturally amazing horseback rider. She had a golden horse named Griffin and together they astounded people at the horse shows they competed in. I would imagine the scenarios she’d be in as a kind of movie– and Elton John’s Live in Australia tape was the soundtrack because that was often playing in the car while I was being driven to ballet, thinking about these things. Why not.

Although I often pretended to be Whisky, any more stories involving her did not occur right away. In fact, for whatever reason, it wasn’t until 6th grade that I began writing for fun. I was newly enamored with the musical “Little Shop of Horrors,” thus, my new batch of stories involved a girl, her walking, talking plant J.R. and the sadistic dentist that lived next door with his daughter. You have no idea WHAT I would pay to have these notebooks again. I don’t remember the particulars of any of the stories– I do know that they were often violent and involved horses.  And not only did I write these stories out, I also illustrated them in all their gory detail. I remember being damn proud of my creations, often working on them during study hall, letting my English teacher read them when I was done. She always had complimentary things to say, but in any case, when 6th grade ended, my stories did too.

But not for long. . .

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