Saturday 16 May 2020

An Ode To An English Teacher...

Well, I've just had an interesting few evenings. For a little while now, I've been thinking about some of my old pieces of writing... and when I say old, I mean my real early work.

For those who don't know, I started writing at around the age of 7 or 8. I started off with few short stories, my very first, I remember, being about how my dad gave me a time machine for my birthday and how I travelled back in time and rescued a baby triceratops from a hungry T-rex. I brought him back home and kept him as a pet. I wrote my first 'novel' when I was 10. A 76 page, hand-written, fully illustrated fantasy. And have been writing novels ever since.

However, the story I had an itching to revisit was the first story I wrote on my first computer. It was a Commadore 600 I think. Don't know if that means anything to anyone. So, with eager fingers and at the sweet age of 13/14, I sat down and wrote 'Love you to Death', a tale about a girl who moves to a newly built area, meets lots of new friends only to find them being picked off one-by-one by a serial killer. Did I say I was sweet at the age of 14??

So I dug out this story, printed on an old early 1990's (possibly even 80's) printer, kept in an a4 manila envelope. The paper is so thin and brittle I felt like I was reading off ancient scrolls.

Yeah...I'm not sure whether I'm proud or ashamed. I am proud, merely for the fact I managed to write what felt like, at the time, this grown up story. And it was fully typed and everything!! BUT... having read it for the first time in around 25 years, its awful! Cringe-worthy! Its full of teenage hormones looking for their first love among the shadow of a killer. "My best friend has just been murdered!!" "Oh well, let's go for a romantic walk. That'll cheer you up!"

And the worst part?? I proudly gave this to my English teacher to read. She corrected a few typos and errors in pencil for the first few chapters, then her notes dwindled and vanished completely. I remember her praising it when she handed it back, but now I can't help but think did she actually make it to the end? Did she really persevere or was it too painful and she never had the heart to tell me? Bless her. Looking back now, I don't know whether I was hardened enough to take the criticism it needed, and hearing it may have destroyed any love of writing I had back then, so I'm thankful for what she said, whether they were lies or whether she did read the entire thing. I can only apologise now for asking her to ever read it.

It really was awful!

Actually, who am I kidding! I was 13!! I friggin love it!!!

The secret envelope

The front cover

The prologue



  1. Ha! A lot of us writers have those early cringe-worthy stories. But I made my own character profile (for multiple characters) before I even knew it was a thing. Feel embarrassed by your early works if you must, but don't overlook the talent and creativity that drove you to write. That's something to be proud of.

  2. That's a great story. My first early scribbling - aged about twelve - was a knock-off 'Last Days of Pompeii' effort. As a child I was entranced by all things Roman - even to the extent of reading Bulwyer Lytton's opus. I still remember the stormy background and my two heroes, Marcus and Rufus but have no recollection beyond that. Probably for the best.

  3. OMGosh, I recently found a whole packet of my earlier writings from college and they made me cringe, but the winning essay I wrote in 10th grade, which got me an A. Was the WORST! LOL Such fun!. But I too had great English teachers who told me "I should write." How cool! Loved your post! Now rewrite that first attempt, it's a movie worthy teen slasher film, isn't it? :)

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