October 15th, 2007

Juvenalia

We’re running a week behind at Rose-coloured, because I still haven’t told you about the least-exciting part of my Thanksgiving weekend: looking through my writings from years past and chucking out most of it, I don’t need every piece of creativity-oriented paper I’ve ever had, and storing it there is crowding my parents’ ever-expanding wardrobes. So I spent all the lulls of the weekend (and there are many in LTH) sorting juvenalia, and yes, I called it that, to anyone who would listen, a la Adrian Mole (“Well, it’s a good thing I lost at Scrabble by 200 points in 45 minutes–I have to get on sorting my juvenalia!”)

I only looked at high school, skipping those ever-portenous grade-school diaries, and in fact all diaries, since I was undisciplined back then (and now?) and only wrote in diaries when I was sad, so I know those books would be litanies of complaints with five-month silences. I also didn’t look at university days, when I think I might have actually written some good stuff. One thing at a time (yes, I am calling university juvenalia–I mean, who would I be kidding?)

Anyways, reading over the high school stuff, I did not find many of the diamonds in the rough that I had been hoping for–some of it sounded, well, like it was written by a teenager. Depressing, but not really surprising. I’ve never been an early bloomer (despite the name). What was gratifying was to find that there was so much work–apparently I wrote constantly as a kid, which I totally don’t remember doing. This too makes sense, though: see above-mentioned lulls in LTH.

So after I winnowed out Kiwanis drama festival assessments (“that busines with Becky and the chair doesn’t help at all”), every note my lab partners ever sent me (“M. is now wearing her purse *all the time*, in case she has to flee the building or something. It’s a new level of annoyingness. What’s the thesis of your English essay?”) I have a big stack of stories to read in more detail at my leisure (plus all the grade school/uni stuff still to sort…Christmas?)

What I’ve gone through so far is fascinating, because it proves that, in rudimentary ways, I was *always* obsessed with the same stuff. I’ve found stories from the late nineties that seem to be very loose, very bad first drafts of things I’ve written this year, except I *don’t remember writing* those earlier stories, and thought I was making everything up fresh. I dunno, do you find that creepy? It’s like I’m stealing from my younger self.) On the up-side even the not-good bulk of it shows what style I was, and still am, aiming for. I can’t find much that I feel super proud of, but for the sake of full disclosure, this, an excerpt from “In the Time of the Radio Gods,” my OAC Writer’s Craft project. Oh, remember OACs? Those were the *days*!

“Trying to stop thinking, that afternoon Tyler went to the beach. The water was too cool yet for swimming, and too polluted anyway. Still, he liked being able to sit in the sand in his shorts and t-shirt, read the paper and listen to his radio play staticky Beatles. He needed a tan.

“Noel sat down suddenly in the sand on his right and hugged him warmly, just as he always had. Without thinking, Tyler kissed his brother lightly on the cheek. His face did not feel waxy or icy. It was warm, toasted by the sun that would turn it burnt-blush red.”

Noel is, of course, dead–it seems like everything I wrote that year was a ghost story, a pattern I certainly didn’t notice at the time. It’s a good thing I save these things, so that my mature self can ferret out what was really going on. I’m actually already starting to regret I didn’t keep those chem notes.

Oh the boys /on the radio / they crash and burn
RR

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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