My scribophilia began very early. As a kid I would sprawl out on my belly, printer paper on the carpet (the kind with perforated edges and holes along the sides, remember those?), penning and illustrating my own picture books.
Getting a little older, I started to focus on more serious literary work, writing a story about talking whales. I single-handedly supported the spiral-bound notebook industry with that thing.
The day I turned twelve years old, I ignored my own birthday party to start writing what I believed would be my magnum opus. (Isn’t that such a writer thing to do? “Nah, you guys go on, Ima hang out here. Alone. In the corner. Typing furiously.”) The story was called…
I had an unbridled creative fervor but not a spellcheck, it seems.
The unfinished 7000-word story was about a futuristic world in which a corrupt king has turned all the men evil and all the women into slaves. I was writing a dystopia before I knew what a dystopia was. And let me tell you, I thought I was pretty edgy.
Enter our protagonist, a coincidentally also twelve-year-old girl named Avvienya. (Avvi for short. Judge me all you want, but I still kind of like that name!) She and her mother are slaves under ~!!~Master Kamian~!!~ DUN DUN DUN. You know he’s evil because his name is Kamian. And because he says things like this:
“Look at me! I demand you look at me! You are nothing but a floor mop and sewage!”
“Speak clearly you rat-lickin girl!”
Obviously I had a knack for brilliant dialogue. Let’s check out a few more of my pearls of genius, shall we?
“M-M-Master Kamian! No! It can’t be so! It-it-it just can’t!”
“Stupid Avvi. Stupid girl. Ha! How pitiful! Ha ha!”
Here Avvi is mourning the death of her mother, Nanee:
“NANEE! No Nanee! Please say it’s not so! It’s me! Avvi! Avvienya! Why? WHY?!”
And my most favorite of all…
“I WILL NOT LET GO OF MY SPIRIT, MY HEART, OR MY DREAMS!”
You tell him, girlfriend!
And a tween’s manuscript wouldn’t be a tween’s manuscript without some good old-fashioned, overly dramatic metaphors:
My eyes struggled to open. It felt like coral shells had stamped my eyes shut upon my ocean of salty tears.
My soul was tearing at the skin, trying to rip it so it could be set free.
My energy was decreasing fast. It seemed almost to have wasted away into only a few grains of sand. Each sand grain dropped from me ever so quickly.
My my, how ever so quickly, my dear! I say!
As hilarrible as these passages are, I still love reading this story. It’s been sixteen years since I leapt away from that slice of birthday cake and into the computer chair, and you know what? I actually admire twelve-year-old me. I have never been less self-conscious in my entire writing life since that story. It was pure, unfiltered, bottled-at-the-source mountain spring passion. I wrote based on nothing but impulse and imagination and what I just plain thought was cool. And even though what I shared here was chosen for its laugh factor, there were other parts that actually weren’t too shabby. They were the beginning of something, anyway – the itty bitty seedling beginning of what would become more stories, better stories. A whole life of stories.
So for that I say… Thank you, Avvienya.