Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Oh My Word, Here I Go...


When I was fifteen, I started writing a book.

It was bad.

Here is an excerpt, with commentary included. It serves as a warning to younger me, since twentysomething me is currently DeLorean-less.


Years ago, on a farm just outside of a town called Coleville, in West Virginia [not a real place. I stole the name from combining a movie with the wrong way my last name is spelled all the time and I had not at the time ever been to WV.] there lived a girl named Susan Miltons [I'm really bad at surnames]. The Miltons family was a relatively small family, with one boy, Johnny, and two girls, Susan and Linda [I swear I stole the names from an American Girl book.]. their father was a very hardworking man who was absolutely delighted to provide well for his family. And the family surely was well provided for. [What is this crap, young me? Really?]

Susan was a young girl with an adventurous spirit. She felt that she must have one, because Linda and Johnny were more content to do homework and see their friends. [Susan was apparently a loser with no friends. Or a serial killer. Criminal Minds would probably be all over that.] Susan loved to explore the thick, beautiful woods on the Miltonses [???] property. The trip was sometimes [only sometimes?] inconvenient, because Susan had to go around the field [corn, if you were wondering], but once she was finished with that obstacle [apparently Susan was fat, too], Susan explored to her content. [I guess young me wasn't into pronouns.]

To Susan, there was always some new place to find. Sometimes it had been an unfamiliar clearing. [How exciting.] Other times i had been a new path that wound through the woods, leading to some mysterious end that Susan never quite found. [Maybe that's where the bodies were hidden?] One unfortunate time, Susan had found the trail to the railroad tracks, and the train was just speeding through. [Dag.] But there was one consistent thing about Susan's explorations. She always took her loyal dog, Teddy, with her. And one day, Susan found another new clearing. But this clearing was very extraordinary, and more astonishing than anything Susan had ever seen.

It was a beautiful day one October, when Susan was twelve. [I think I legitimately thought people would get confused if I used "she" once, instead of the name.] The air was cold, the sky was the deepest blue, and it was Saturday, which allowed the whole day for fun. [No duhrr.] So she [freaking finally] went exploring, and Teddy followed loyally, as he did every time, his tongue hanging out, his fur blowing in the breeze. The leaves were changing, and falling, and not a cloud was in the sky. So the young girl and her dog strolled to the woods.

This day, Susan chose a new, smaller path than the others she had seen before. [My grammar sucked too, if you haven't noticed.] The path was clear, nearly perfect, not covered by thorns like most of the trails in these woods. Up ahead was a bend in the path, and when Susan and Teddy went around it, they found, instead of another path, a clearing. But this clearing was  different than others. [Those sentences are just gross.] Everything in it was a different shade of brilliant blue. The rocks were blue, as was the piney cover on the blue tinted soil. [Sorry, I forgot about the acid trip part of the story.]

"Oh," breathed Susan. "Teddy, it's so amazing." [Poor Teddy...I'm so sorry for what you had to put up with.] Teddy looked happy; no, ecstatic, as if he had found some hidden happiness in that clearing. [SUBTLE FORESHADOWING DUNDUNDUN.] A small fruit hung from one of the trees, and Susan looked at it, but decided against eating it. But she made a decision about the clearing itself. This was her special place. I'll come back every day, she thought. Or at least I'll try. So, after playing there for a long while with Teddy, Susan headed home.

 [It gets better.]

Susan did indeed try to go back every day. Even when she explored other places, she found time to go to her special clearing. [Was anyone concerned at all about this child spending hours in the woods unsupervised?] It was a place of peace, somewhere to play and to dream. No other place was like it. But even so, special as it was to her, there was something even better about it that Susan herself would never discover [SUBTLETY.] So these happy years crawled by lazily, and Susan and Teddy became closer in a strange way as they visited the clearing. [I'm sorry, but just no.]

The day came when Susan turned sixteen. [This is apparently known to happen occasionally.] As this birthday had approached, she had stopped going as often. Other things, like friends, [finally], school [also finally] and cinema [Cinema? Really?] replaced the clearing as important to her. And then, Susan stopped going at all, and forgot all about this beautiful clearing. [Morality tale: avoid puberty at all costs, because you may be in danger of getting a life.] Teddy never did, though, and he went back every day, because, not only was he used to the routine, the dog [because I know you totally just forgot what species Teddy was] knew that something was more special about this blue place. [did no one care that the dog wandered off too?] But the clearing, as Susan stopped going, turned from a bright blue to a dull, dead, faded gray. [Being a teenager will also kill the local flora. Apparently.]

Susan graduated from high school two years later, went to college, and got married to a man named Charlie McKail. They moved far away from Coleville, to a larger town named Wilson, hours away from Coleville. [In North Carolina.] Susan and Charlie had a daughter, whom they named Anya Leona McKail. The family lived a nice life in Wilson. [Good to know.] Anya went to a good school [also good to know, because schools in NC err on the side of suckage] and Susan and Charlie had very good jobs. And all this time, the clearing grew grayer still. [I imagine it eventually just turned clear.] And Teddy, the loyal dog, died, as no one in our world lives forever. [Crap, that's depressing.] The years passed, with the clearing lying, forgotten, in the thick woods around Coleville.

[Here's a tiny excerpt from a bit down the page. Anya's parents are discussing moving to Coleville because Susan's parents decide to give her a house or some junk like that.]

"Mama, we can't move," Anya objected. "I have friends here. Do you know how long it took me to make friends? [In Susan's footsteps, I suppose.] What in the world's wrong with Wilson?"


A lot Anya. There's a lot wrong with Wilson.


  1. Evidently young you loved exposition. Given the choice between show and tell, you always seem to pick tell when you're fifteen (I did too).

  2. I guess, and I think this was my line of thought at that age, we always feel like if stuff isn't overly explained, someone might miss something.