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4/12/2011 12:45:35 PM
Does it Take a Weird Kid to Make an Author?
A nice woman contacted me through this site recently. She felt we had a lot in common and asked me a few questions, such as, "Did you write all your life?"
This started me thinking about what I was like as a child. I told my husband about memories I'd never thought to share with him before, and he thought I was a hilariously weird kid. (Not that he can talk.)
Unlike most of my writer friends, I didn't start spinning fictional tales at an early age, but I was always writing. I wrote songs, poems and humorous articles into notebooks. This wouldn't be so bad, except that I fell in love with a set of bongo drums and started using them to accompany myself while singing my songs. My enabler mother insisted I play the bongo drums and sing for any friends and relatives who visited--I can only imagine what was going through their minds. Later I switched to guitar, which may not have been so weird.
I also got it into my head in early elementary school that I wanted a ventriloquist doll. My parents got me one. I named him Tiny and he and I put on shows together, often just for ourselves. Creepy. If I saw a kid like that in a movie, I'd expect her to start serial-killing in the next scene.
I remember that from preschool age (until now), I related more to people in TV shows and books than most real people I met. I'll bet I wasn't particularly liked by my Kindergarted class. Whenever some of us played house, I distinctly remember nixing all of their requests--"I want to be the mommy," "I want to be the baby." Instead, I would make them all tell me what month they were born, since we were all about five, and the youngest would have to play the baby, the oldest the grandma, etc. Yes, I was casting "playing house" as if I were making a movie.
I had a special dance when Gilligan's Island came on--acting out the theme song as I sang along. Since I loved Dragnet, I went around spouting off the Miranda rights any time I could work it into a conversation, which was more often than you might think. And I was always trying to educate my fellow elementary school students about the difference between the defense and the prosecution and make them swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth (Perry Mason). Why they didn't care about any of this stuff, I'll never understand.
I was so enamored of my many TV friends, in fact, that it sometimes interfered with real life. We couldn't record shows back then. I remember being invited to a birthday party at Baskin Robbins, but as soon as I realized it conflicted with an episode of The Waltons, I was in a quandry. That night I had a dream I was one of the Waltons and we had a war with the giant robots from the Baskin Robbin's across the street. (Hey, it made sense in the dream.)
And my daydreams about the future when I was a child? In them, I was always a famous writer or actress, living in L.A. I lived in a huge mansion alone, except for a housekeeper that took care of all of my practical needs. In those dreams, I never saw the kitchen of that house and that's the part of my childhood fantasies I wish had come true the most!
Well, I could go on and on, but I'm sure you realize now that if you read characters in my stories like Not Dreaming of You or Don't Make Me Make You Brownies who seem a little kookie, they're still more normal than I am.
What about you? If you're a writer, do you have childhood weirdness to report? And if you're not a writer, are you starting to think you should be? Come on, confess.