Monday, May 25, 2015

Interview a Notebook: Third Grade Notebook

This is the third post I’ve tried writing for today—but this is the one I’m going to stick with. As I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me say, there’s been flooding in my basement, which means I’ve been cleaning out my room. I had no idea that I still had one of my first writer’s notebooks: something I’ve been keeping since 2005.

THAT IS TEN YEARS AGO.

Like, wow, for me, right? How could I NOT interview this notebook? I graduated high school on Friday, and looking back ten years? Just, wow. Wow, wow, wow. So, let’s talk about this!


Tell a little bit about this notebook. Where did you get this notebook? Why did you start writing in it?


Well, ten years ago—this would be my third-grade notebook. Looking at this, it’s from a time when my best friend moved to Pennsylvania, my school was not a good fit for me, and apparently I had no filter. Anyway, Mom bought me this during back-to-school shopping, I decorated it, and everything else is just the assignments I was given!

How long did it take you to fill all the pages?


Actually, not all of the pages are filled, but I used this notebook during the 2005-2006 school year. I never believed the teacher when she said I should date my pages (and I still don’t, haha) but this really did help me place this notebook!

Summarize the things you’ve written in the notebook. 


Let’s take a look—there’s a lot of brainstorming lists in here, short narratives, poetry, lists of sensory information, my personal thoughts… There’s a lot of stuff.

Paste a snippet from within the story, as is. No editing allowed! 


[I changed my sister’s name to her Avengers name, by the way. For protection purposes.]

Cracking the mirror (11/30/05)

It was a nice sunny weekend. Thor, my hot-temperd little sister was so bored. Me, a distresed older sister of two (1). I wished I were asleep in an airplane than being in the spot where I was. “Hey! Why don’t we dance?” The stentence blurted out of me like I put a hot potato in my mouth. Holly agree, and so I snaped on some music. I was dancing like it were the only thing I could do in the world. BLAM!!!! I had just acsadently kicked the mirror. Lines shot up spot my foot managed to kick. I felt like I was naked standing in front of the whole U.S.! I stole some air as I tiptoed down stairs. I was scared but I worked on my way down to mom’s office. “Mom,” I nearly wisperd. “Yes?” Mom ansered. “Mom, I cracked the mirror in the living room.” As just like that mom was thanking me. She said she had never liked the mirror (2) We took it down and painted it in the next few weeks. And that’s when I cracked the mirror.

(1) Was even boreder.

(2) In about four days we took the mirror down. Then it took a week-and-a-half to take all the golden adheseve off. I hated that part was the worst, mom had to put poison on the wall. Mom then painted the wall electrick green.

What’s the best doodle/brain bubble in the margins?


Observe: a shape poem.

“I got the fish but then it said, my wishbone broke in half so I made a wish, I wished I had a fish.”

Are you still working on anything originally written in this notebook?


No, no I am not. Unless you count the life I am living—I’m still here.

Do you think you would go back to anything written in this notebook?


I don’t think so. I mean, sometimes people write really awesome memoirs but I don’t think my life is interesting or funny enough to make it worth it. I am glad to have the memories, though—I definitely saw the world in a different light back then!

Are you mostly embarrassed by this notebook, or mostly proud?


I think I’m proud. Even though the writing is poor (as witnessed above) and my handwriting is ridiculous, I love... that I wrote. I know I am a different person than I was then, but having this notebook makes me feel a connection to that little girl I was in elementary school, and points out the parts of me that still haven’t changed. It’s something that makes me smile.

What is your favorite thing about this notebook?


I love the cover—it’s so unique! These pictures, these things… They’re just personal, and I love that about it. I don’t think I’d do it now, but still. I love seeing the messy, glue-stained photographs all cut up and stickered now. I was one cool kid.

Just for fun, edit the snippet from before—do you think you’ve grown?


Hell yeah I’ve grown. Watch me.

My parents called it the living room, but to us it was a stage. The sea as I pondered my unrealized dream of becoming Ariel. Ground zero in the war against my nemesis: the vacuum cleaner. The cathedral where I donned my bridal gown and married the tiger of my dreams. And, of course, on occasion, a platform upon which we danced. Sometimes the poise of a graceful ballerina possessed me, other times the spirit of a deep-fried rock star, minus the tattoos. Looking back on it, I probably looked more like a firecracker zooming around the room, completely incapable of remembering lyrics and devoid of a sense of rhythm. But I was awesome anyway. 
On this day, because I was tall enough to reach the VHS player—score one for Heather—I popped in the VBS video from last summer. My younger sister, Thor, was bored enough to join me, although it wasn’t like anybody had anything better to do on such a dull afternoon. We wiggled, we jammed, we brought down the house. I got caught up in the fantastic swirl of an expert-twirler, reveling in my own talent and joy, certainly dancing better than Thor, and—SMACK. 
But for the ignorant TV, which did not stop for accidents, I was greeted by the silence of the condemned child: the sound of awed nothing, which only means one thing. You are in sooo much trouble… 
You see, my house was a child of the seventies. Or eighties. Whenever it was—it was the era of mirrored walls, highlighted by mustard streaks across the glass because I guess it was stylish. My fervent dancing veered very close to this wall, and in a moment of joyous passion, my clever foot cleaved the square panel into a spider web of geometric anomalies. 
Or, to put it simply, I cracked a mirror. A mirror, just in a noticeable spot in the one room guests saw when they knocked upon the front door. I set the noose around my neck and took the long walk down the stairs, treating every step on the rough gray carpet as though it were my last. Mom was going to kill me. 
I tiptoed to her office, wishing my bottle of courage wasn’t nearly so leaky. Perhaps I condemned myself to death—but I’d be honest and dead, which was the most I could ask for now. 
“Mom,” I said quietly.  
She glanced up from her work, unaware of the rage about to curdle beneath her skin. “Yes?” 
“I, um, cracked the mirror in the living room.” 
I stood stock straight, awaiting my fate like the big girl I was. I could take it. Even if I had to do the dishwasher all by myself, I could take it. 
A mischievous smile played upon Mom’s lips. “You know,” she told me. “I’ve always hated those mirrors. I should actually thank you—now we have an excuse to change them!” 
Cool air suffocated my lungs as my ears tried to rehear what she was saying—I did a good thing? She wasn’t mad? Hallelujah! 
I skipped back up the stairs, grinning and ready to relate the story to my sisters. I was Heather, vanquisher of mirrors, and darn right I broke it. My stage was due for a renovation, anyway—it wasn’t easy, being a star.

Wow, that was super cool. Have you ever stumbled on any of your baby writing? Do you love it? Can you share it?

6 comments :

  1. Dang, Heather. You revised excerpt is amazing, and so vividly told. Your writing honestly has the power to make something so ordinary as a short journal passage into a captivating excerpt. Wow.

    Anyways, I love looking back at my old notebooks. It's so fun to see what my past self was like, and once I get old enough, I'm not embarrassed of my past writing, but rather proud.

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    1. *blushes* Thank you! I mean, I knew it was going to be better, but now I feel all glowy. XD Thanks.

      Old notebooks are awesome, no? I think there are a couple places where it's too close to home to be proud of, but the more distance you have from the writing, the better you can feel about who you were. :)

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  2. I love your revised extract!! Also, congratulations on graduating!! :)

    I like going back and reading my 'baby' writing, but I don't know if I could be confident enough to share it.

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    1. Thank you, thank you! More proud of the second than the first, but graduating took like, thirteen years, and the excerpt took like fifteen minutes.

      That's something I can compare with, too. Going back and looking at who you were can be a super personal experience, too, you know?

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  3. I always cringe so much when I read my attemots at writing from when I was little, You are very brave to share it, Heather.
    The revised extract was brilliant. I myself have broken more objects than I can count.

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    1. It's kind of yucky to begin with, but when I remember that I was younger than ten years old, I think I'm willing to forgive myself. It's just another part of the writing process. Thanks! I think we've all broken things once and a while, but we get older, and things get better. :)

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