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. . .