As a kid I was an avid reader. Just about any book I could get my hands on would find its way open with my nose stuck in it. And because of this I had a very vivid imagination. I also fancied myself a protégé in the writing field. I was going to be a writer - no doubt about it. And by sixth grade I was sure that everyone would feel that absolutely I should follow that path – if only they could read something I'd written.
So I sat out to create the GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL at 12 years old. Or at least the GREAT AMERICAN THREE-PAGE HANDWRITTEN SHORT STORY.
Now along with my dreams and ambitions I also had a strong sense of morality. Things were either black or white and prejudices fell most definitely in the black (evil, obviously) side. And so I took a strong stance against this sort of thing and apparently at this age my feelings centered most decidedly on Native Americans issues.
My GREAT AMERICAN THREE-PAGE HANDWRITTEN SHORT STORY would be about a couple - the man would be white and the woman would be Native American. In order to show how serious I was I had to have drama (some might call it 'melo') and developing conflict. I decided that the way to do that was to have the man be super-crazy prejudiced against Native Americans. He was not, however, aware that he was married to one. In order to make it socially relevant I set it in the 1800s of course. His wife lived in fear of him finding out what she was.
I don’t remember everything that happened in my magnum opus, but I'm pretty sure I fleshed it out with paragraph after paragraph on how afraid the woman was that her husband would discover her secret.
I’m sure many of you can see where this is going what with my exceptional foreshadowing skills. Alas the husband found out what his wife was and in a fit of rage he rage shot and killed her.
I was so proud of this story and felt that it was powerfully meaningful. I just knew that whoever read it would worship my talent and possibly, if they knew the right people, find me a book deal and I would experience my DREAM!
So I started with my friend. Surely she would be impressed, right?
She laughed. In case I didn’t give you enough detail to ascertain for yourself, this was not a comedic effort.
I let my teacher read it. I was sure that my friend was just the tiniest bit jealous of the fact that I had created something so amazing at such a young age. (We were always competing against each other, you see.)
She made strange face that at the time I couldn't quite decipher, but that I knew wasn't all that encouraging, and said ‘Oh!’
And I now realize that the look my teacher gave me was actually her trying so hard to keep from giggling at her misguided student.
I was not exactly crushed at their lack of response, but I did step back and start to reevaluate my plans. I may or may not have written in my journal about how misunderstood I was.
In their defense, however, I did end my GREAT AMERICAN THREE-PAGE HANDWRITTEN SHORT STORY with 'And the moral of the story is...'