expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>

Monday, May 25, 2009

my brilliant career

I am a narrative junkie. I love a good story.

I will even follow a bad story down a dark alley full of the nastiest clichés just to know how it turns out.

I have read every book that I could stomach past the first page right until the end, no matter how painful.*

I read all of Ulysses (but have no idea what that shit in the middle was about).

I sometimes tape tv shows I don’t even like that much because I start to watch them while I’m brushing my teeth and can’t stay up late enough to get closure (if one can really require closure in a relationship that brief).

For as long as I can remember, perhaps from as far back as I could hold a crayon, I felt compelled to try to write stories as well. I needed to add to the narratives I saw all around me.

I wrote all manner of short fiction during the elementary stage of my career, peopled with many a character lifted wholesale from my favourite television shows. The protagonist would be my own invention, intelligent, beautiful, tough, often with long black hair and violet eyes. She would inevitably meet up with a handsome, witty cop/PI/cowboy/spy/con man who, until he met her, never could find true love no matter how many beautiful women crossed his path.

I rode a lot of horses, solved a lot of mysteries, married some of the cutest actors on TV.

I began my first novel sometime during Grade 5 or 6, in partnership with my two best friends. We wanted to supplant the Hardy Boys with The Mystery of the Old Auditorium starring three sisters/detectives named Gerry, Mike and Jim. We liked to pretend to be them. We were tomboy-wannabes who had no tomboy skills – and were possibly lacking in feminist zeal.

My next opus, begun in junior high after watching the TV series Colditz, was a war novel entitled W.A.R. Spells Hell. I wrote quite a few chapters of that, despite my abysmal lack of experience with either of those concepts.

Except spelling, of course. I am (generally) an excellent speller.

I also managed to produce a maudlin 8th-grade Christmas story that won rave reviews, i.e. my teacher said that is was very well-written — if it was really my work.

To be accused of plagiarism seemed like the highest of praise to me, even though I knew that the story was a pile of treacle and that my teacher had a horrendous sweet tooth.

In high school my output slowed, but I wrote one short story that won a Major Award (honorary mention) in a writing contest and then got published in my high school yearbook.

I thought it was a really good story, but it was also a sensationalized and extremely fictionalized account of selected events in my life spun out to predict the worst possible outcome.

And it was thus I learned my first lesson about writing and consequences.

When my mother came into my room and closed the door one afternoon shortly after the yearbook came home, I was taken aback. I had never before committed any crime that couldn’t be discussed at top volume in front of multiple siblings.

I was forced to deny her autobiographical accusations as convincingly as I could, while my father waited anxiously in the living room. He was a part-time newspaper columnist who should have known how many lies writers tell even in a true story. Fortunately, they both seemed quite willing to accept the story I came up with that day.

Meanwhile, my best friend faced a similar inquisition from her parents simply because I had named one of the main characters after her. Apparently they thought I was too stupid to come up with pseudonyms. But then again, I was too stupid to realize anyone would try to connect my fiction to real life.

How many more paranoid parents I terrified with my moustache-twirling melodramatics, I can only imagine.

The moral of this story came through loud and clear, however.

The pen truly is a dangerous weapon and writing is not for sissies.**

*The one exception is Clarissa. She is too annoying to live for 15-fucking-hundred pages. Richardson should have stabbed her through the heart with his quill on page 25 and written about bunnies instead.

**I am a sissy.


  1. Welcome to blogging! What a wonderful first post!

  2. Thanks, T-Mom. You're my first comment! I didn't know who you were at first, but when I clicked through I recognized that pretty puppy. It inspired me to post my own puppy picture.

  3. Hi there...congrats on the blog. I have to say, that first entry proves to me that you and I were definitely destined to be friends.

    8th grade plagarism accusation?...yup...bought me a "D" grade and made me reign in my writing until I got to university.

    Parental distress over a wannabe writer?...oh yeah...been there too...a good friend kept my notebooks for years and I wrote at her house.

    Stories peopled with characters lifted from other creative genres? Yup...I was in my forties when I learned that it is called "Fan Fiction" and actually has quite a cult following (and is immensely fun and goofy to write..and no...mine will never be shared)

    I guess I am also a colossal sissy as well...which is probably why I am an accountant.

    As for Ulysses...my theory is that James Joyce was a good Irishman...and as such...he probably gets a great laugh out us intellectual sorts wrestling with that stream of consciousness stroll through Dublin..."look at me...I am so much smarter than you crowd...I KNOW all these references...and you have to figure them out...idiots...LOL!" (That's how I got through the book...LOL!)