Thursday, June 21, 2012

My So-Called Teenage Life: The Blogfest

WARNING: I am going to swear today.  Not a lot, mind you, but I'm going to use the F word and by that, I mean the real one.  Not 'frak'.  So if you're offended by foul language, you might want to skip today's post.

Today, as you may have guessed from the title, is the So Called Teenage Life Blogfest (click on the link for a list of participants) hosted by Christa Desir and Amy L. Sonnichsen.  Here's what participants are asked to do:

Step One: Dust off those old sappy journals or high school notebooks filled with bad poetry (or, in the absence of poetry, pretend you're a teenage and write what you feel. Just make sure to use your teenager voice).
Step Two: Skim through them until you find something share-worthy
Step Three: On June 21, POST IT on your blog 
Optional: We all love seeing old photos, so if you have one lying around of you as a teen, post that, too.

Well, I'll tell you right now, there will be no picture of me as a teenager.  Most of my pictures as a teen involve my pair of Sally Jesse Raphael glasses.  I know this is a reference that many of you might not get so here's a picture of the woman in question:



My glasses weren't exactly like that but they were pretty close (What in the world was I thinking?).  So no teenage pictures of M.J. for you.

And there won't be any poetry either.  I looked for my journals and I have about five million notebooks in this house but I honestly don't know where my high school notebooks have gone.  I didn't write a lot of poetry back then and I'm not really in a poetry mood right now so I won't be creating any original teenage angst verse for you.  Instead, I'm going to share some of the prose I wrote when I was in high school.

I originally wanted to share with you an algebraic themed parody of the Gettysburg Address (yes, really.  You read that right) I wrote one day during math class when I got tired of trying to get my #2 pencil to stick in the ceiling tiles (I was an excellent student).  But I can't find a print out anywhere.  I imagine it's on one of the floppy discs I have in my office but as I no longer have any way to look at those discs, I'm a little stuck.

Then I thought I'd be forced to share with you the story I wrote about my ill fated attempt to ask my high school crush to the prom.  The story won me an honorable mention and an electric typewriter in a contest where we were asked to write about the role of God in our lives.  I'm pretty sure the only mention of God in that story was the line "Oh God, I'm gonna die!"   No, wait.  I just checked.  The line was "Oh God.  I am going to die."

But then I remembered a little story I started writing in my English class one year.  I'd just read As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner and watched Steel Magnolias with my family and came away über inspired.  It was my first multi character POV story (and I'd like to thank Mr. Folan for never busting me for working on it during class time).  You can find it now on my site as How Many Angels but back then it was called Seasons because I've never known how to title a book.

Anyway, the scene I'm going to post is one of the only scenes from the original high school draft that I didn't cut when I started a rewrite in my later college years.  It's unconventional (no capital letters, no punctuation) and was a first for me.  I honestly think it was the first time I used the word "fuck" in my writing.  The POV belongs to a teenaged character named Gemma whose best friend, Alexis, has died, leaving Gemma bereft with sorrow and guilt.  And to deal with this sorrow and guilt, Gemma has turned to alcohol and drugs.
Sorry for the crazy long intro.  The scene itself is infinitely shorter.  And on that note, I hope you enjoy it...

***

flying high no worries hakuna matata dancing singing meerkat warthog ugly stepsisters way to go cinderella go to the ball meet your handsome prince live happily ever after with no guilt alexis no fear so shoot on up and come on down youre the next contestant taking whats behind door number one two three youre out face full of dirt on your way to the showers feel the body rush stepping into cool crystal water washing away guilt alexis fear sadness i can fly and nothing can stop me think happy thoughts and fly away to never never land second star to the right brilliant night colors everywhere i can smell color red orange green blue shining yellow purple too all the colors that we know make up the rainbow somewhere over there dorothy and her little dog too ruby blood red slippers click your heels together and go home nagging excessive guilt alexis shoot on up and forget no worries no death no dying just flying free as a bird spread your wings and fly away from everything and everyone who ever hurt you whoever left you stranded there because they didnt fucking care and it doesnt matter show no emotion just look at the color hanging ceiling tiles red and green and yellow and purple and pink and every color smells good like flowers in the springtime on the casket lowered into the ground with worms crawling all over spineless sightless crawling through the mud looking for mate mate and die have sex and die get stoned and die sex drugs and rock n roll the american dream baby and i am living it because i am fucked and i am stoned and i am flying high and there aint any turning back so come to me my dusty yellow love so does it hurt when you die quick slow how should i go in your sleep struggling to stay down instead of up with a gun blow out your brains with a knife cut your wrist watch the life ooze out of them i want to see the angel of death jump from a window and float right down to meet her him it to die to sleep to be or not to be i be stoned and i be happy no heavy metal band no pounding no worries no nothing just floating happy and free i want to die only how do i go

***

To close today, I thought I'd post this snapshot of a page of my notes from English class, one where I apparently wasn't writing my own stories (and please don't let it be the same thing you were thinking about this post...).




When you think about it, it's kind of amazing I graduated.  Just think at how well I would've done if I'd actually paid attention.  Anyway, check out the other participants and have an angst-y kind of day...

32 comments:

  1. I liked that. I think our teenage writing is sometimes a lot freer than our 'older' writing. I have a feeling all my teenage stuff is in my parents loft - I really must go and have a look one day!

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    1. I feel the opposite is true for me. I think my older writing is much freer than anything I wrote back then.

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  2. You make a terrific case for punctuation. :)

    Definitely not boring.

    I was a big doodler in high school. I probably went through a million folders each year cause I was constantly drawing/writing on them.

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    1. I did the same thing with my folders and notebooks. Now I just cover them with stickers.

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  3. I'm sad to say that I didn't need the picture of SJR to understand the reference to her glasses. I didn't have my own, but I do remember them.

    There's a YA author (I'm blanking on her name - Hopkins, maybe?) who writes novels in free verse. Something to think about re your scene above. :)

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    1. Oh, I love Ellen Hopkins books. I really wish they'd been around when I was a teenager.

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  4. I love this so much. Hakuna Matata! I also sort of love that we can see your snark even then. Thanks for being in this with us. :)

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    1. Oh yeah. I have never not been snarky. I like to think it is both a blessing and a curse.

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  5. The bigger the glasses the better, but I think I opted for purple over red! What a fun idea. I am running upstairs for the journal I recently unearthed!

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    1. If only I had opted for purple instead of red. Or, you know, any other pair of glasses in the entire place.

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  6. The scribbled notes in diaries are the best parts. THIS IS BORING haha :)

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    1. I'm pretty sure there was a "THIS IS BORING" proclamation on every page of class notes I ever took. Such a good student.

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  7. Oh, and to be fair about your glasses, when I had to get glasses in the 90s I tried really hard to find small ones. Looking back at the pictures they were huge. I don't think there WERE any small glasses then.

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  8. There's so much poetry in this entry! I'm impressed! I don't think I had the wherewithal as a teenager to be anything but totally concrete. ha ha!

    Thanks so much for signing up and participating! This has been a blast! :)

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  9. Haha - oh, I miss those days of doodlings and writing stories in class. :) My stuff from those early days is hilarious and heartwarming in its newbie-writerness. :)

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  10. Poetic and angsty! I loved the "This is Boring" bit. :)

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  11. Well, I've always said the hormones of puberty make us think of either sex or death. Or both at once. Like the end of your entry.
    And the stream-of-consciousness is very beat-poety.

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  12. That's some quality stream-of-consciousness-style writing, M.J. Though I'm sorry to say, that snapshot does capture what I was thinking about while reading this post: Magnavox.

    And dig out that algebraic parody of the Gettysburg Address, already! How dare you tease us like that!

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  13. Oh man, I am so lucky I left all of my high school notebooks and poetry back in my old room in my parents' house. I still cringe at the poems I wrote during my teen years. Eek!

    Anyway, I have a blog award for you. :)

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  14. My first pair of glasses were about that size too. ha ha!
    I loved your run-on thoughts, so full of pop culture and angst. The drama!

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  15. I suspect the snarkiness is hereditary. Yes, I know that's a spelling error.
    Somewhere I have a theatre of the absurd piece called Waiting for Closing set at the Dairy Queen. Not high quality writing I'm sure. But I really want to read the Gettysburg parody.

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  16. that was pretty amazing!

    wasnt high school fun? i personally think passing notes and doodling was more fun than texting!

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  17. Your run-on thoughts were awesome! Well done, and I dig the illustration, too. Our teenage years were such an intense and passionate and growing time.

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  18. I love knowing that someone else was writing parody poems as a teen. And even better, it was also the first thing you thought of sharing. We'll both have to look harder to find our parody poems because the world should not be deprived of their awesomeness.

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  19. Love this stream of conscious poem, it reminds me of rap more than anything else. Have you read jayz's book? :0)

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  20. Wow. This is oddly compelling. It sort of reminds me of some of the perspectives in "As I Lay Dying." It reminds me of one in particular: Dewey Dell.

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  21. Talk about epic stream of consciousness. We are so much freer with our thoughts when we're younger. I'd give anything to create such wonderful rapid imagery again. Thanks for sharing this, I thoroughly enjoyed it. :) I shudder to think what's in my teenage notebooks. I believe I had them destroyed or at least buried in a former missile site.

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  22. I've never been into stream of consciousness, although I've wanted to be. I suppose my brain doesn't work enough in that way for me to able to process it. It seems to work for what you were doing, though.
    As much as I'm able to tell, at any rate.

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  23. Funny you call that prose, as I found it poetic. Like rap or hepcat speak or, you know, pour me a shot of something fierce and an espresso too. Like that. Dig it. Wouldn't want to live it, but that's another story. :-)
    Some Dark Romantic

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  24. If there were line breaks that would look like the free verse from the novels I read.

    I remember SJR's glasses. I almost bought red glasses not too long ago, but I just couldn't bring myself to choose any bright colors. I have purple frames, but the color is muted.

    This post brings me back to being in the classroom, both as a teenager and as a teacher (my students doodle in their notebooks and try to stick things in the ceiling).

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  25. Hee hee... your pre-and post-intro's are too funny and then there's this amazing middle part... wow...:)

    For a teen, that seems pretty dark - but well written... I don't remember having the ability to write that well... I was more like the note at the end... the doodlebug of the class :)

    (And, no, I wasn't thinking re. what the note said... not at all :)

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  26. How strange, yet cool, is the teenage mind? Love it.

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