This edition of 7 Quick Takes is all about my budding start as a writer. I must warn you, the seven compositions that I will be sharing with you are gripping, emotionally charging, and brilliant beyond words. You might want to get some tea.
1. Kind Kittens, written my first grade year. I was going to type it all out for you, but I’ll just give you the best lines and the hinge on which the entire story is based: When they got there, the kittens saw a hippo drop his sacks. So the kittens picked them up. The hippo thanked them. The kittens ran to their Mother.
2. Pizza Recipe This is my first attempt at non-fiction. I could have stood a bit more research. Pizza. Make some crust. Sprinkle hamburger. Sprinkle some cheese. Put circles of pepperoni on it. Put it in the oven. The degrees is 175. Take it out at 6:30. Hello Food Network? Yes, I’d like to negotiate a deal!
3. The Anthology: My first grade teacher was big on writing stories. If I remember correctly, I was the only person in the class that didn’t groan at this assignment. The titles of these stories include: Picking Oranges, The Two Tea Sets, Jesus Is Born, Firemonster, If Everything Was Purple, George Washington and How The Zebra Got His Stripes. I drew the three girls on the front cover like that because I distinctly remember only having two crayons, one purple and one black. I made matching boys on the back cover, because, naturally, when you’re a first grader, you believe that’s where the boys should go.
4. A Walk In The Woods: My future love of hiking and abstract drawing of trees are demonstrated in this little story: I went to a woods and I saw animals. One animal was a rabbit. Another animal was a deer. Another one was a prairie dog. I saw birds and bugs. Watch out Bill Bryson!
5. How To Wash A Dog I am not really an animal person as I mentioned in this post, and I certainly was an inexperienced dog washer when I was a third grader, but this is a more impressive non-fiction piece that I wrote either in 1976. Today I am going to wash Sandy. She loves to take baths. I found her playing outside in the mud. I scolded her for getting so dirty. I know she didn’t understand me anyway. I put her in the tub so I didn’t have to find her anymore. I got the shampoo and a towel and a comb and a brush. Then I filled the tub with water and got her all wet. There was a lot of bubbles in the tub. In fact there were millions of bubbles! Pretty soon the whole bathroom was filled with bubbles! I finally decided I should let some water out. So the bubbles went down and I lifted Sandy out and I thought she was a bunch of bubbles at first but I knew better. I dried her off and brushed real good and I thought she was a beauty of a puppy.
6. But then, of course, I grew up. I spent a significant part of my 7th grade year writing a story about a crime fighting kidney bean. But that was before I was introduced to the soul salve that is bad teen age poetry. Get your tissues ready and turn up the Air Supply! Everything is all right, really/ My friend is still here, holding my hand/ No matter what I do, or how I feel / I can come to him and cry. He understands / Everything, Everything is all right now/ Because my friend will never leave. Whoever I was writing about must have been very special, because now after over 25 years, I have no idea who I was talking about.
7. Parking The Car But then there was the not-so-sappy side. For a school assignment, I re-wrote Tennyson’s masterpiece Crossing The Bar to have it apply to a teenager in the ’80s. I like it, but I still should probably apologize to Lord Alfred.
Porchlight and evening stars
And Mother calls for me
And may there be roaring of the cars
For twelve is when I flee.
But such a spirit does not want to sleep.
Too happy of laughs and fun,
When the night is through, friends quickly creep
Turn again home.
Midnight, the evening bell!
And the night has been a lark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When we embark.
For though from our night of fun and games,
Theat started movies at eight,
I hope not to see my Mother face to face
When I have come in late.
That’s it for 7 Quick Takes. Maybe I’ll share my college writing, my youth radio show nonsense and my comedy sketches from the ’90s soon. I love that I still have all this stuff because it doesn’t matter where my career goes or how many books I sell. This will always keep me humble. Really, really humble.