|Yep, here she is. Check it, there is even
a unicorn on the cover. Wide-ruled, baby.
Content A, Mechanics C was pretty much the standard grade subtitle to all my early middle school writing assignments. Coming from Mrs. Boschulte and her perfectly coiffed shoulder-curl hairdo, this meant I had good style, but sucked at spelling and punctuation. Huh. I was recently reminded of this fact when I uncovered my fifth-grade creative writing notebook, in all its big, penciled cursive glory. Given that this was a legit class notebook, and I have been spared the horrors of revisiting my personal hide-under-the-mattress journal of said pre-adolescence, I thought I’d share some of the gestalt of young Katie. Weirdly, it seems I remain eerily the same…only now I get to do and think half of this stuff professionally. Okay, semi-professionally, like a casual Friday. I don’t know if that means my soul settled early on, or that I’m just boring.
Non-fiction honorable mentions:
“What I am Thankful For” (Thanksgiving pre-game warm-up)
“I am thankful for the stars and the moon and the joy that rainbows and sunsets bring. I am thankful for the smell of autumn, for a burning fire, and for snow-covered trees. I say thank you for my dreams…”
“It’s Not Just a Monster Anymore” (an essay about personal fear)
“Now I am more afraid of things like war and nuclear missiles and powerful yet evil leaders (like Saddam Hussein.) I also fear poverty and pollution. Endangered animals are always on my mind, along with the destruction of the environment, ozone layer, ocean, etc…”
“Proud to be Fit” (in preparation for a visit from Arnold Schwarzenegger)
“Exercise should be an important part of our lives, especially for over-weight people. If you are planning to start skiing, stretching, biking, dancing, swimming, jogging, walking, or aerobics, here’s some advice. Start slow, don’t over-work yourself at first, it can really give you a muscle ache.”
“The leaves have beautiful colors, their loveliness matches the dusty painted sunsets. Autumn feels cozy and comfortable, the earth seems so peaceful, like a baby sleeping in a bed or like a downy owlet.”
The Main Event. This is my eleven-year-old self vibrating at her true frequency.
An essay about New Year’s Resolutions (with footnotes):
“In the past I have not made a New Year’s resolution, but this year something came up*, (I was asked to write some resolutions of mine.) So here they are.
First I resolve to spend more quality time with my family. I believe that families and love from families are one of the greatest treasures on earth. Therefore I will extend my relationship with my family further.**
I will make it a point to take my interests and desires more seriously, such as spending time alone and letting my mind ponder in silence. Learning, thinking, and imaging about animals, stars, the ocean, trees, flowers, nature, unicorns, elves, trolls, etc… Do more quiet and relaxing things like for an example, reading a book under a tree in the cool shade.*** I intend to absorb wildlife and its’ ways silently.
I intend to begin to write more, and sketch pictures, then hopefully begin to write a book. In the time I’m writing the book I will be open to more ideas.**** I shall study things that might prove useful topics in my book: animals, elves, unicorns, trolls, fairies, sprites, magic and such things.
Those are my resolutions. Now just one question remains. Will I keep them? Well I’ll tell you I will try with all my might!”
* It is as if even then I was rolling my eyes at the assignment.
** One might wonder what other things my fifth-grade self might have been doing other than mostly hanging out with family. My favorite part about this paragraph is when I move past the greeting card propaganda and consciously decide to renew the familial contract for another year.
*** Isn’t this fantastic? I want to ponder. Alone. In silence. And when I’ve had my fill of that, I’ll move on to more relaxing things, like book-reading in the shade, birdwatching, and knitting a death shroud. It sounds like I am planning on moving into a nursing home. Still, this is when I most love the young me. I want to hang out with this kid, stalk the local deer, pick berries, count stars and get weird.
**** Really, I am totally open to any ideas you might have on troll genealogy, functional elf fashion, animal behavior, the physics of fairy flight, what exactly did happen to the unicorns. And such things.
But you know, all joking aside, that final question still remains, and it is kind of like the ghost of journal past is poking me in the ribs. Hard. She still needs to be reminded and encouraged to take her interests and desires more seriously sometimes. And it is both validating and unnerving how similar my resolutions today are to those written two decades ago. Well, minus the trolls.