I’ve struck gold, ladies and gentlemen. I unwittingly unearthed my 6th grade writing journal. Naturally, I read through the whole thing immediately. It was terrible. I’ve decided to forgive the countless spelling and grammar errors because I was only 11 or 12 at the time. However, it took all my strength to quell the editor in me who was furiously demanding to mark up the whole thing with red ink.
As I read through my numerous stories and poems, my first feeling was embarrassment but I quickly discovered that the proper emotion was pride. I really have been writing all my life and this is the evidence to prove it. What’s even better is that this evidence proves it’s working; the writing is paying off. It’s safe to say that I’m a substantially better writer than I was when I was 12. The public education system didn’t fail me after all!
I originally decided that this 6th grade work should never see the light of day. I’ve changed my mind. As it turns out, I was a little comedian back in the day. I also rejected all things deemed “childish.” Always the rebel. Case in point:
“Barney the purple dinosaur
makes my eyes sore
He’s such a freak,
He should not speak.”
“Happy little Dora and Boots
They do little toots.
If they would die,
no one will cry.”
Fantastic, right? I couldn’t stop giggling. How wonderfully morbid I was. To be honest, my sense of humor hasn’t changed much. It’s only gotten more vulgar. Horray for adulthood.
Some of this truly is gold. Even with the elementary writing, some of the ideas hold merit. That’s the thing though. We’re all capable of coming up with the idea. Implementing it is where the real skill comes in. As a child I was a storyteller. The stories were good too. The only problem was that I didn’t have the tools necessary to make my stories the best they could be. Perhaps I possess those tools now. There will always be room to improve but I’m just glad I’ve come this far. The following is one of my old writing passages, word for word, mistakes and all. I’m going to rewrite the prompt to the best of my ability and you can decide how much I have improved.
PROMPT: Do this yourself! Find a piece of work you did earlier on in your writing journey. There’s a lot of freedom here. It can be from childhood if you’re lucky enough to find it. It can be in young adulthood, before you had much experience writing. The one requirement is that it must be something that you can improve and/or expand on. Take a good idea you had and make it great. Here goes my attempt!
“There was once a land called Sorrow. That’s how all the books started. So many books of Sorrow, so many, telling lies. They say you should never judge a book by it’s cover. In some cases, it’s different though. When you see a book that has pictures of monsters and dragons with the name of The Truth of Sorrow, right off the bat, you’d know that the book was full of lies. Even if Sorrow does have monsters and dragons, no one knows. Not a single soul has even set eyes upon the place. How do we know it exists? Truth be told, we don’t. All we know is that on every midnight full moon, an agonizing cry peirces the planet. Every place on this world has been seen and mapped except for one small place that is considered the darkness. There are many myths about what is in the darkness. The most popular one is the land of Sorrow.”
“The glowing full moon cloaked our end of the world in silence. Every person was waiting, listening. The silence would only last another moment. Then it came once again. The distant wailing was difficult to notice at first but as the chorus joined in, it was impossible to miss. Children shuddered as their mothers clung to them. Some put on a brave face but we all knew the feeling of utter sorrow the wails delivered to us. Sorrow commanded our attention once again.
There is only one place that rests unknown to the world. Shrouded in darkness, it stomps out the power of human curiosity. No adventurer brave enough to travel there has returned to tell their tales. Anyone claiming otherwise tells lies. They attempt to capitalize on the fear of the unknown, writing fables disguised as truths. People will look to any explanation to quell their fears but there is only one truth and it is simple.
We will never know the land called Sorrow.”