July 25, 2013

little laura stretches the truth

Blogger's Note: Thanks to my family's pack-rat tendencies -- and my vanity -- I've managed to keep documentation of my progress as a writer from kindergarten on. Instead of letting those cedar chest gems go to waste, I figured I might as well do what I do best -- post them to my blog. This is Little Laura Learns the Ropes.

No. 2: Write about what you like to do after school.
Date: Fall 1992
Age: 6

After school I like to...
play at my hosue. Ride my skate bord. Play ball. Jup rope. Play with frends.
Draw a picture of what you like to do after school.

Sigh. It seems Little Laura still has not grasped the concept of spell-check.

My memory isn't crystal clear, but I'm willing to bet I wasn't totally versed in dictionaries or how to use them. Heck, I don't even know if we had one in our classroom. I'm sure there was one in the library, but who was checking out that mofo when there books about ginormous red puppies and hurricanes to be had?

(Yeah, I was really into this book about oceans for the better part of first grade. I grew up in a landlocked state, and the Chapmans didn't travel. That book of photographs was the closest I came to the ocean until I was 11. I probably checked out that sucker a dozen times before I entered my Baby-sitters Club and Scary Stories phase in second grade. "BSC and Scary Stories?" you ask. Why yes. I had a sophisticated literary pallet from the beginning.)

I'm also pretty damn sure my teacher had one of those "Don't ask me how to spell the word, just sound it out" policies. Didn't those piss you off? I know the theory behind it has something to do with teaching children to problem solve or fend for themselves. But when a kid wants to know how to spell "friends" without coming off like a complete moron, couldn't you help a sister out?

It's BS I tell ya. Were you trying to make me look like an asshole, Teach?

Academic politics aside, can you believe I still had four misspellings and one wrong letter?

This is supposed to be my best work, too. Sheesh, Little Laura, you've got to pull yourself together.

As far as the content goes, I'll give Little Laura credit for thinking bigger. We're not just playing with girls and boys anymore. We're stringing together multiple lines of thought to develop something.

By all appearances, I'm also delving into some fiction writing at this point. When I was 6, I did like to play at my house. I did like to jump rope. I played with friends. Dude, I even played ball when it was required at school, or when my parents signed me up for club sports (athleticism is hard!).

But I can recall only three or four instances in my life when I've actually used a skateboard. Oh, I'm sure I wanted to at 6. My brothers had skateboards, and at this point in my life I still figured my two brothers had to be the coolest kids in the world. So, if they rode skateboards, then I'd be cool by association if I claimed to ride them, too.

Some people might consider Little Laura a little liar, but isn't that what fiction writing is all about? Tinkering with the truth to create a whole new story that is better than before? For that invention, Little Laura, I give you a gold star.

Then again, if you take a closer look at this worksheet, the teacher gave me the ideas by including a little girl who skateboards and a little boy who plays ball. Oh dear... I'm starting to realize maybe my falsehood wasn't creative, but lazy writing. Hmm...

Well at least I stayed inside the lines.

I suppose there comes a time in every writer's career when she must work with what she's given to meet a set of standards. And there comes a time when you can choose to be creative or do whatever it takes to finish the damn project. Had I reached this point in first grade?

Poor, Little Laura. Crazy kid never had a chance.

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  1. Another gem! I love how tough you are on Little Laura. Builds character. And I totally agree with you about the stupid "sound-it-out" policy so many teachers had. I think we can safely say that's resulted in a society of horrible spellers too lazy to look things up. Social media provides plenty of proof of that.

    1. Thank you, Brea. How will Little Laura learn if I don't give her some tough love!

      And I'm glad we're on the same page about sounding it out. I can't see that it's helped anyone. :)

  2. LOL I get such a kick out of these Little Laura posts. I love that LL ripped off the skateboarding idea from the drawing at the bottom of the page! Original ideas are overrated! ;)

    Your posts are starting to make me wonder what my writing was like when I was young. I've been living in this state of delusion where I just imagined that I was always a fantastic writer and speller (Otherwise, how would I have become the Spelling Nazi that I am today?) It's probably a good thing that I have no proof to the contrary!

    Looking forward to seeing what Little Laura's work was like in junior high and high school! :)

    1. Original ideas are TOTALLY overrated, right? :)

      Junior high and high school were interesting times. I'm still trying to locate a couple of files from my high school days that would be kind of funtresting. (That's a word!)

  3. I can't get enough of these posts. Imagine, not seeing the ocean but checking out the book (and renewing and renewing) just to look at the photographs. Just love this - and you!

    1. We also didn't have cable when I was little... :)

      I'm pretty sure my fascination with the oceans can be attributed to the whole landlocked state thing and that I was obsessed with "The Little Mermaid." In excellent news, I just found that book on Amazon. It's a reprint, but yahoo!