Listening (and adding to) my Spotify Christmas Tunes playlist tonight and I suddenly started thinking about something that happened in 8th grade. In our mini-school English class we were asked to all write a story revolving around Christmas. It could be anything but we had to work in the theme of the holiday.
Excited about writing assignments in my youth, I worked up my fantasy story involving Santa, an incident at the North Pole that threatened Christmas, and two kids (a brother and sister) that managed to save everyone. I was proud of it and it was much better written than the short horror piece I’d written in 7th grade English. Of course, always anxious about having anything I’d written read, I dropped it in the box and quickly ran out the door.
The next day, after our teacher – whose name escapes me – had read the stories and graded them, she stopped me in the hallway as we were changing classes. She had a couple of the other teachers around her and pulled me to the side. Nervous because I was never pulled to the side, I didn’t know what was going on, but was shocked and relieved when she asked me: “James, I read your story and it was fantastic. You are an excellent writer. Do you mind if I show that to some of the other faculty?”
I continued to write up until 10th grade, urged on by that one compliment. Of course, after 10th grade I lost all interest in school and didn’t want anything more than to get out of that place. So my writing fell to the side. It was sad, too because I had created some pretty awesome stuff back in that time.
The writing bug didn’t hit me again until 1995 or so, when a co-worker and I collaborated on a series of stories (which I have mentioned here before) involving our job. We worked at Wal-Mart, and so our stories took on the themes of movies popular at that time and involved all our co-workers and some pretty insane plots. On my own, I wrote a couple of short stories, two in particular I still have nearly 100% of.
And that was it. I still like to dabble every now and then, but that’s all it will ever be. I love to write, but I have no desire to study the art, refine it or wrestle with the literary world. So, I bang out clunky work here and there, hang on to my younger self’s love of the art form and wonder whatever happened to him. The hardest part is having these ideas. I must take the time to jot them all down one day. If nothing else, maybe someone will stumble across them many years from now and do something creative with one of them.