My mom, goddamn her and bless her heart, saved many of my writings from grade school and beyond, and over the holidays we took the occasion to go through them.
Amidst a choice science report on pandas and a few hard-hitting editorials for my high school paper ("Recycle Your Cans") were two inimitable stabs at fiction, one from first grade, the other from 11th. A side-by-side comparison:Title11th grade:
"A Driving Force"1st grade:
"The Marvelous Magical Miracle Machine"Synopsis11th:
Lani, a beautiful, rebellious private school girl, struggles with her parents' divorce 1st:
Our first-grade protagonist, Meaghan, fights back against an evil machine wreaking havoc in her neighborhoodInfluence11th:
"For the first three and a half minutes of class she took dutiful notes; once they launched into a discussion concerning the appeal of Marxism to industrialist reformers in the 19th century, however, she knew that it wasn't worth it. She was too far behind in the reading."1st:
"I met the machine again and it grabbed me and made me into four of me. One of the mes went home and told mom what had happened. She laughed and said, 'It's your imagination.' So I went for a walk. I saw the machine. It tried to grab me but I ran. I had had enough. I got mad!! I went home and took a bath."Climax11th:
During a driving lesson, Lani mistakenly runs over her brother Claude's tweed cap, "a prized possession," and is subsequently grounded1st:
Meaghan finds the machine sleeping, steals his motor and kills himLast line11th:
Actually an author's note that begins, "The Joycean theme explored in this piece..."1st:
"Then I woke up!! I said 'Phooey!!'"