Friday, July 20, 2018

I might as well be older than paper.

One of my kids recently asked to see a necklace that used to belong to my grandmother.  The necklace is tucked away in my chest of really old things.  The chest is something my dad made for me when I was a kid and is itself an old thing.  I opened it up to find the necklace.  To no one’s surprise, we got rather sidetracked by all the things that hadn’t seen the light of day in at least several years.  I showed off the letters and trophies I earned in high school and the rosary I received at my First Communion.  We flipped through a yearbook before we found that necklace.  I also discovered something that my kids found incredibly interesting.   It was the first book I ever wrote.

I wrote the book in 4th grade so let me clarify right off that the book itself is not all that interesting.  It was the story behind and around the book that fascinated the current 4th graders in my household.  I told them how I wrote the book as part of a writing club that met in our brand new computer lab.

Your school didn’t have a computer lab until you were in 4th grade?
It was the first computer lab EVER!?

Not quite.  While I was fortunate to attend a well-funded school which was likely one of the first in the area to have a dedicated computer lab, I highly doubt it was the first one ever.  I don’t like how old that makes me sound.  I explained how we had to line up the paper in the printer and clip it to the little feeders.  And how the story printed on a continuous sheet that had to be separated afterwards and the perforated edges removed.

I wish we still had that kind of paper.

I told them how we had no clip art, no scanner and no Paint.  That was why we had to print the pages and illustrate them by hand.  And there were only a few font choices.

Your drawings aren’t too bad.

Thanks.  Actually, I think my drawings aren’t too bad either.  Until I consider that I probably couldn’t do much better today.  I have spent countless hours working to improve my writing since that grade school book and approximately zero hours refining my art skills.  Fortunately, a computer can do for me now things it couldn’t back then.  I have been getting better at faking art skills. 

Is anyone wondering what that first book was about?  It was told from the point of view of an eraser through being purchased, handling lots of erasing during a school year, and then “retiring” with a brand new friend.  The two erasers are drawn on the last page with a heart between them.  My husband finds this amusing.

You were writing love stories from the very beginning.

Apparently so.

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