When I was about 19, I started writing a personal memoir.
I wish I was making this up.
I wasn't very dedicated to the writing. The format was going to be a compilation of the most interesting stories of my life thus far, and every so often whenever the mood struck me I would open up a Word doc and start typing away. Then college and life got in the way, I studied journalism and creative writing, and that personal memoir was forgotten as I learned how to...well, actually write.
You see, I must have started that memoir as soon as I got my old laptop, because the remains of it were stashed in a supersekrit folder hidden away as I went through and organized the very last of the folders from the epic Mac switch of 2010. And there it was. The folder called FIRST BOOK.
"WTF?" I thought to myself. (See? Reading all that bad writing is making me a worse writer. Obviously I thought it to myself...who else would I think it to?) "The Reaper's List is my first book! I didn't write a book before-oh.em.gee." I immediately clicked the folder and there it was, all laid out in separate chapters.
There are about five and a half chapters written in all, but I can't share some of them because they name names and make me look like a moron. (Not just because the writing is bad, but...remember...this is a memoir, so these events actually happened. I can't believe I was ever that pathetic.) But I read the first chapter and it made me LOL so hard, I had to share it...and some snarky comments.
I love that I am a much better writer now. And in six years, I might look back on what I'm writing now, laugh, and make a hilarious blog post for all to enjoy about how awful it is. But the point is, we all grow and change, become better writers and better people. Unfortunately I'm not published and not many of you have read more of my work to vouch for me, so there's not a lot of proof but...this awfulness is still fun.
I should give fair warning: There is one five-letter word in here (repeated twice) and there is some blood near the end. But I'm not sure it's really well-written enough to bother anyone with a weak stomach....
Enjoy! My awesome, 25-year-old snark is in blue. Also there is no editing of any kind, so there are double words, extra hyphens, and all kinds of awesome.
Title: BOOK OF AWFUL WHICH HEATHER WROTE WHEN SHE WAS 19 AND SHOULD IN NO WAY BE CONSIDERED A REFLECTION OF HER CURRENT WRITING TALENT. (just saying)
Chapter 1 [Which is not actually a chapter, but a weird/narcissistic intro/prologue]
I have never considered myself to be an interesting person. In fact, I would say that I am quite average, even dull. [Six years later, this is definitely still true.] But as my life unfolds before me, a veritable roller coaster of plot twists, emotions, shocks and revelations, [gee, for someone who finds herself boring there is an awful lot going on] I find that other people think that I am fascinating. [LOL!! Do they tell me that? Hm...I guess I will write a book about it...]
I suppose it all started when I was 11. [What started? Me being fascinating? Or strangers walking up to me in the street and saying, "You're FASCINATING!!!"] My father’s friend was having a party, one of those adult parties that provide no entertainment for children save the long table of cakes, pies and other desserts that they aren’t allowed to eat anyway. [Why not? Was I watching my figure, even at 11? Because it definitely didn't work.] I sat in the corner, bored out of my mind, when the hostess let her dog out.
The dog was a shiny black with smooth hair and a bright pink nose. It seemed jubilant enough, but when I looked more closely I realized that the dog only had one leg. [Because clearly I would notice its color and bright nose wayyy before I would notice the fact that it was limping and missing a limb. Duh. Edit: ALSO!!!! Thanks to LOLA for pointing out in the comments that my awesome 19-year-old self wrote that the dog "only had one leg" when the dog was in fact missing a leg, and had three that worked just fine. LOL. I am ridiculous and can't believe that my skillz as an investigative journalist ever got me As in school or a decent job. Ever.] It hobbled around the room, sniffing around for treats and crumbs that people had dropped on the floor. As the dog got nearer to me, I grew extremely excited. [UH.] I couldn’t wait for him to come play with me and ease my boredom, even if only for a moment.
Then, the dog locked eyes with me, as if it had read my mind. He came over to me and rested his head in my lap. I scratched him behind his ears, and he nuzzled my thigh gratefully. [Dude, I am getting a little uncomfortable. I swear I did not write a romance novel, but all this business about "locking eyes" and "nuzzling thighs" WTF!! And this is a DOG.]
“That’s surprising,” said the hostess, “Troubles [this is actually not terrible foreshadowing. The dog's name really was Troubles] doesn’t usually like strangers, especially females. He was abused by his former owner and has been unfriendly to females ever since he lost his leg. He bit his owner’s sister, and that’s when she gave him up.”
Looking back, [Wow! That's not cliche at all!] I always thought it was strange that no one seemed concerned that the dog had a history of violence, least of all his current owner. Considering that she knew Troubles didn’t react well to strangers and females, you would think that she had the sense to keep him out of a room full of them. Apparently this woman did not have much sense. [Neither did I, when writing this scene or playing with this dog.]
Troubles pulled away from my lap, and I let out a sigh of disappointment. My brief moment of entertainment was gone, [I honestly didn't know that scratching a dog's ears was such fun for an 11-year-old. Huh.] and I was forced to go back to pretending to listen as my father talked about work and church and all the other boring things he liked to talk about.
The dog went to get a drink of water, and when he was done he laid on the floor by my feet. I decided to take matters into my own hands. I knelt on the floor in front of him and continued to scratch his neck and ears.
The next thing I remember is a loud growling sound. I can still hear it, nearly a decade later. It was one of the meanest and scariest sounds I have ever heard, at once loud and angry and unforgiving. The horrible noise was followed by a warm, wet feeling above my lip and a thick, salty taste in my mouth. [In case you don't know what just happened (I don't blame you, I don't even know what happened and I was there)...the dog totally just bit me. ON MY FACE. And instead of feeling any pain, I heard a noise and felt something warm and wet (sounds pleasant!) and got a salty taste in my mouth. This required 50+ stitches and I still have a scar, and I didn't have any pain?? No. NO. Not right.]
My mother screamed. My thick, purple glasses fell to the floor as she picked me up and carried me to the bathroom, all the while screaming, “You stupid bitch, how could you let that monster out? You stupid bitch!” [Wow, I have quite a mouth on me!! Oh, wait. My mom was screaming that. I get it now. Heh.]
My mother stood me up in front of the sink and turned the faucet on. Before I could look in the mirror, the entire lower half of my face was being rinsed with water. Through the foggy-haze of my glasses-free eyes, I saw dark red water rinsing spiraling down the drain.
When you rinse out a cut, usually the water turns lighter and lighter, until the blood no longer looks red but pink, and finally the water runs clear. The water never ran clear for me. My mother screamed for ice as my brother retrieved my glasses. The glasses and ice bag arrived at the same time, and my mother made the poor decision to let me put my glasses back on. I looked up and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.
During my middle school days, I harbored dreams of being a movie star. [Totally true. I wanted to be a movie star right up through junior year of high school.] As soon as I saw what that dog had done to my face, I began bawling. [Because I wasn't already crying with pain from being BITTEN ON THE FACE??] Movie stars are supposed to be beautiful and glamorous. They are the ultimate in attractiveness, grace, poise and sophistication. [And I need to let my readers know this because they have never seen a movie star in their lives.] As I examined myself in the mirror, I thought I would never be attractive enough to be famous.
Troubles had bitten me on the right side of my face, just above my lip. His teeth reached my cheek and my nose, and tore a hole through my flesh. The blood kept pouring and pouring. [I must have passed out by now. Maybe that means I'll stop writing.] I could have put my finger through that hole. Fortunately, he didn’t manage to split my lip apart, or even penetrate the edge of my lip. [How do I know this is fortunate right now? Answer: I don't. The doctor told me that.] Still, I knew the gaping hole went stitches, I knew that stitches meant scars, and that scars meant I would never be pretty. I knew that I was awkward and a little overweight, but I thought I could outgrow that. I would never outgrow this. [Fortunately, though, I did outgrow my desire to write a memoir, and I learned how to be a better writer.]
So, there you have it. The Blog Post of Epic Hilarity. And you didn't even have to ask for it. The story goes on to tell about the trip to the hospital, me getting stitched up, and some other stuff. Then there are the other chapters, which are also awful/awesome.
All I can say is...thank goodness for artistic growth.