I cleaned my closet today and found a box of old files. In these old files were three folders, one full of cards, pictures, photos, and drawings, and the other two full of old writing. I suppose ten to fifteen years isn’t that old, but I’m talking about high school here, which seems to be an entirely different life. I found photos of my dogs, Jordon my scruffy old man, and Bejamin that neurotic little spaz, and my Mom’s cat Spook. They were all taken in the house in Gretna from the time when my parent’s still lived there. I also found a few photos of myself fencing at the first Cornhusker State Games I attended. Then there was a stack of the little billfold portraits it was the thing to hand out to all your friends in high school just before graduation, with little personalized notes on the back. I didn’t have a lot of actual friends in high school, but by graduation day I at least had equal parts fear and respect from the student body.
“Well, I can never say class is boring with you in my class! You managed to spice up any class! It’s been fun getting to know you! Good luck with everything! –Nancy.”
“Don’t listen to what people say, you are unique and yourself and that’s all that matters. Never change. – Shawna”
“Well, we made it! We’re finally SENIORS!! It’s been great getting to know you. I admire your individuality. Never lose that quality. I wish you luck in all you do. You are a very smart girl, and I know you’re destined for greatness! Take care and keep smiling!! Your Friend, Melissa.”
“Hey smartie! I’m glad I can joke with you and you won’t take it seriously. You’re a pretty cool person. I really like your unique personality, hold on to it. I know you’ll do find in life. Just don’t forget me. –Stacie”
“It’s been great getting to know you! It is good to have someone who isn’t afraid to say what they think. I respect that! You will go far in life! I wish you the best of luck! –Ann”
“Way to go in Ac-Dec [Academic Decathlon] Sis! You are very smart and very unique! Be proud! More people should be as independent as you! Take care! Love, Katie.”
I sat and sorted through the writing. I think some of it must have been things my mother kept. Much had notes from my teachers on it. There were several cases of “Interesting!” and “Bizarre!” There were journal entries about things that were going on my life, dreams I had had, the beginnings of several novels, an eleventh grade paper about the planet Venus, criticism of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, lots of bad poetry, and a whole bunch of scenes, little excerpts of imagined things that were probably part of some kind of assigned writing exercise. I took creative writing twice, there being no other good classes in my high school. I had no idea I had saved this much.
of all the dreams I’ve dreamed thus farthey’ve been filled with visions of the stars
--Stargazer’s Dream, date unknown
She wouldn’t let go, she wouldn’t. Her fingers ached from her perilous hold on the rock face. She could feel the skin being scrapped off as she slid just a little farther. Sweat dripped off her forehead and into her eyes. Janet fought panic, she couldn’t afford to panic now, not now, she told herself. She screamed again in desperation, even though she knew there was no one to hear her. She was going to die. She knew she was. Tears trickled down her cheeks, carving trails in the dirt on her cheeks. She didn’t want to die yet. Her feet scrabbled vainly beneath her, trying yet again to find some sort of toe hold. She felt herself slip a little farther and she screamed. The rock face slipped out from her fingers and she was left grasping air.
A gloved hand show out from the edge of the cliff to catch her fingers just as they let go. The scream lodged itself in her throat. Thomas looked down over the cliff at her, his mouth set in a grim like as he gripped her bleeding fingers with all his might. Janet swung her other hand up to latch onto his wrist. Thomas began slowly pulling her up over the cliff. Small rocks rained down on her. One struck her in the eye and she screamed again as she lost her grip on his hand, but Thomas didn’t let go. Slowly he moved back for the cliff edge, pulling her with him. When she could, Janet levered her leg up over the cliff edge and pushed herself up, right into Thomas’ arms. He caught her and she clung to him as she sobbed her relief.
--Creative Writing Activity #98, April 29, 1998
Sarcasm is a bandage
--Sarcasm, Journal, April 11, 1996
Black roses and white dresses
--At My Funeral Shall Be, date unknown [Note: these are not my current wishes, so if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, do me a favor and forgo the burial and tombstone and just scatter me somewhere pretty.]
misery is a blade of ice
misery is pain in the core
misery is befuddling fear
misery is all of these things
--Misery Is, date unknown
And perhaps, funniest of all, what appears to be a short journal I wrote shortly after loosing my virginity. I do not remember writing this at all and it took me a moment to even figure out what it was.
6.6.2001 - Now that I'm getting it, I realize I'm not getting it nearly enough.
6.7.2001 - Kinda gives a "To Do" list a whole new meaning, doesn't it?
6.8.2001 - It's kind of like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time. Only it's not you you're rubbing and you have to keep track of your hands as well as your mouth all at the same time with trying to gauge how much he likes it. Practice makes perfect. Good think I don't mind.
6.11.2001 - It's like watching a man who's won the lottery and is dying at the same time and can't seem to decide which feeling is greater.
6.12.2001 - Truly unique: a room, one man, two of his lovers, full knowledge of each's activities with the other, no one trying to scratch another's eyes out. Truly unique.
6.13.2001 - What's 26 years here or there?
Who was that person?