My mom delivered a small unassuming box of my old stuff recently. It was largely ignored until a few nights ago when I decided I'd just quickly flip through the contents - sure I'd throw most of it out. And, truth be told, I did throw most of it out. But not before reading through stacks and stacks of old papers, journals, notebooks and school writings.
Two of the things in said box were old diaries. They actually had locks on them. Now, my mother once swore to me that she would never read my diary. Her confession as she handed over the box a couple weeks ago was that she only read the diary she could get unlocked. The nerve! I'm kidding, Mom. My diaries are hilarious - they were saved from the dumpster. Most of it reads as follows:
"I like soandso, but I also like otherguy. Otherguy likes me, but soandso is cuter. I wrote a note to soandso and otherguy got jealous. But I am in love with soandso. FOREVER!" Several times over.
I'm certainly not saying I have "arrived" as far as writing goes. I'd like to think I am constantly improving and bettering my little hobby. But boy howdy, have I come a long way since junior high!
Some of you probably think I am absolutely CRAZY for throwing away such pieces of my past. I really see no need to keep such stuff around for posterity. I don't particularly want my children to read through that stuff someday. Not a chance.
I. Was. So. Embarassed! There I sat, in my recliner, reading my very own 7th grade (or earlier) scrawl wondering why on earth my teachers didn't recommend some sort of counseling. The things I tried to write about were things I knew NOTHING about. I could have written more convincing papers on the structural integrity of reinforced concrete. Yet, here I was, writing entire short stories about girls who went to college and got abortions. As if.
I suppose after years of development (high school, college, studying with other authors, etc.), my judgment of my own creativity is more critical than it should be. All of these poems, stories, essays were written before I heard things like "write what you know" and "not everything has to rhyme". Still...I am almost relieved to know that except for a few (and I mean 4) keepers, the other evidence of my ignorant and naive ramblings is now officially gone.