Well, school is out and I have decided to work all summer on writing my first book, Jumping in Mud Puddles: A Memoir of a Picky, Hyper
Big Fat Liar.
I have wanted to write a book ever since I first picked up a pen and wrote Ma and Pa Kettle stories a few weeks ago. Ok, kidding. I wrote all of the time when I was little. I’m pissed off at my mom that she didn’t realize that she was living with an Ernestine Hemingway at the time, as she never saved any of my creations.
I was forced to go to a private school when I was in first grade because I was stupid and didn’t pass the early entrance exam. I missed the November 1 cut off by several days. My mom wanted me to go to school, so I had to endure a few years of Sister Maria, that evil nun with sensible shoes. In third grade, I started writing stories about Sister Maria and wrote in a composition book. I don’t think it was a work of fiction. I think I may have been spying on her. I don’t remember specifics, but I have the book somewhere. I just don’t know where the somewhere is right now. But, she inspired the writer in me. I wrote about Ma and Pa after I was able to leave that horrid little convent school.
When I was in seventh grade, we had to bring in a simple fact every Friday in Science class: Facts on Friday. I think that’s what it is called. Miss Caldwell would go around the room and we had to read our fact. Most of the time we would just cut out the little filler facts from our hometown newspaper, the Weirton Daily Times. For example, one Friday I might bring in-
“Roger Smith, a carpenter from Dayton, Ohio, was struck by lightning three times at the same spot.”
Something like that. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not also had great facts that were slightly bizarre. So, after a few Fridays, my bestest friend Ramaine and I would sit down and make up our own facts. They were “retarded,” our favorite word in the late sixties/early seventies. We may have changed the above fact to read:
“Roger Smith, an electrician from Bombay, India, was struck by lightning at the same time he was turning on a light bulb three different times and lived to tell about it. The electricity was captured in his stomach and he now glows. He no long needs a light bulb.”
Our Friday facts became so popular that we became Friday fact writers. It was like our first writing job. Everyone wanted our facts or maybe we just passed them out on pieces of paper and the kids read them. We would crack up at some of them because they were just soo out there. I remember my weirdest one:
“In Bombay, India, two caterpillars. walking towards each other from opposite directions, met and crawled up each other and turned into a flower.”
I don’t know why we did this one, but there was a kid in our class named Joe, who we ended up writing about in most of our facts. He was a quiet kid who loved our facts, so we asked him if he would like to be in one of them, and it then sort of snowballed and turned into Facts on Friday with Joe or something like that:
“A woman in Bombay, India (we liked India and China facts for some reason) had twenty children in twenty years. Joe, the youngest, was retarded.”
Ok, remember it was around 1969 when I was in seventh grade. No one was politically correct back then. Anyway, we had a blast and continued to write strange facts. It just recently dawned on me that Miss Caldwell never called us out on those ridiculous facts because she wasn’t paying any attention. She was using that as a planning period, I just betcha.
I continued to write as I got older and was a feature writer for the Babbling Brooke, that riveting high school newspaper that grew in membership when both Ramaine and I jumped on board. Ok, maybe everyone in the school got the paper free, but you know, we made it worth reading.
I wrote an unflattering poem about Donny Osmond one time and we would make up horoscopes that were hysterical. Well, they were hysterical to us:
Scorpio- This will be the worst week of your life. Stay indoors and don’t drink the water.
Taurus- This will be the best week of your life. Go outdoors and drink lots of water.
Other times we would write a tv listing of the shows that were going to be on that week. The following is just something I made up right now, but similar to the “retarded” things we would write:
“The Brady Bunch Friday-8:00p.m.-Carole Brady decides to get her hair cut and lets her daughter, Cindy, cut it with pretend scissors. Carole is now wearing an ugly, shaggy hairstyle and Mr. Brady won’t sleep with her.”
One of the best times I had in high school was in typing class. Ramaine was in the class with me, so you know it can’t be just a normal typing class. We would arrive every morning, take the covers off of our typewriters, and start typing whatever assignment was on the board. Well, that is fine and dandy, but makes for a boring class. So, Ramaine and I began typing notes and would get to class early and put them under the covers of specific “victims.” One may have read, “Watch out. This typewriter is watching you.” Oh, the fun we would have. Sometimes we would put them under our covers so no one would suspect us. High school was just so awesome.
In college, I started writing ala Sylvia Plath- just- kill- me- now- poetry after my boyfriend, Rick, and I broke up. I still have those poems and they are actually quite good. I mean, if you want to die because life just sucks.
I was a Speech and Drama major and English minor, so I was still writing and acting and pretending to act throughout college. After I married and had children, I continued to write. I mostly researched a lot for a book of names I wanted to write. Not just any baby name book, but I would scour newspaper obituaries for old names, like Zella, or Bathsheba, or Candy and started collecting first names. I had more than 40,000 names. This is about the time I started drinking. Ok, kidding, not a drinker. But, I still have that mound of names somewhere. I know where that somewhere is. Maybe someday…
So, here I am, in my mid-fifties and I’m going to write a book. I’m not going to hunt for a literary agent and publisher. No, I’m going to take the short route and write an ebook and put it on Amazon for Kindle. I hope all of you will want to download it when it is finished. I really don’t care if I make money. I just want to one-up my ex husband. He just married a really pretty younger woman and all I have is a bad hair style and a 16 year old cat. So, I’m going for a best-seller and fame since I would rather put a needle in my eye before getting married again. Well, I would change my mind if Tim Matheson, my all time dream man would buy my book and then ask me to marry him. You all remember Tim from Animal House and the West Wing, right? Well, I love him. I really do.
I have given myself until August 1 to finish the book and hope to have it on Amazon by September 1….of this year. I will do it. I will.
Wish me luck!