Monday, February 13, 2012

Origins


DL's done it again - another great idea! You can find all the links for the Origins blogfest over at DL's website.

So, how did I become a writer?

I've always loved stories. I read voraciously at an early age (still do) - & I remember visiting the library every 3 weeks with my two bags loaded with books. So many great series - so many tales out there. But I didn't write any of my own then.

We only had 2 creative writing assignments in grade school. We spent most of our time diagramming sentences - yuck! One of our 2 assignments was to write a page beginning with ____ is a ____ sport.

I chose tennis. I was on the tennis team at the time. I was also the shortest & tiniest kid in my class and on the team. I might have had a decent serve and pretty darn good backhand, but I couldn't compete against these kids who outweighed me - sometimes doubled my size. So, I wrote about the year on the tennis team. I started off with: Tennis is an exciting and terrifying sport. I finished it off with something like: So is tennis exciting or terrifying? I'll let you decide.

I got marked down for not coming to a conclusion. *sigh* But I liked that story. Even after it was long gone, I remembered the fun I had writing it. I didn't put pen to paper for years and years after that, but I kept the stories going in my head. Decades later, I decided to try writing again. And you know what? Those adjectives I used to describe tennis? They work fine when describing writing too.

Do you remember any of your grade school stories?

Don't forget to check out DL's for other participants. My computer is still in Repair Land, so I probably won't be able to visit many of your blogs - but I'll catch up once I get it back!

79 comments:

  1. My stories were all fantasies or dreams! Hope you get your computer back soon!

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  2. It's funny how we remember the early stories. Shame you got marked down.

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  3. At least you know what to do with a tennis racket - which is more than me, I can tell you! LOL!

    I think you reached a most wonderful conclusion!! Shame your teacher couldn't see outside the box!

    Take care
    x

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  4. I wish I could remember some of my grade school stories! B/c I'm sure they'd be hilarious! And bad!

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  5. I wish I wrote in grade school. I didn't like it then. Thanks for sharing how you began.

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  6. So funny! We did the exact same thing....diagramming sentences and, frankly, I don't remember any creative writing assignments. I don't think I knew there was such a thing until I was in my twenties! My favorite memory was the bookmobile. We were in such a remote area the bookmobile came to us. It was divine.

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  7. I can't believe your teacher marked you down for that. Fool!!!!

    We didn't have diagramming in England (and they don't do it in Canada, either). I was soooo confused when I moved to Houston and was thrown into. All we had covered was what is a noun, verb, adjective, and adverb. Everything else was as foreign as my new home.

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  8. Nas - thanks, I hope it's back soon! fantasies & dreams are a lot of fun to write about!

    Lynda - those early stories are fun! I didn't think it was fair either :)

    Old Kitty - I've always loved tennis, although with all the injuries I haven't played in years! My teachers were nothing if not lacking in imagination! :)

    Laura - I do remember those 2 stories & they were pretty bad! :)

    Natalie - I wish I'd written down some of the stories I plotted out in my head too! Lots of silly ones I'm sure! :)

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  9. I don't remember grade school stories but I do remember having a letter I wrote for one of my teachers being read over the morning announcements for having won some kind of school-wide prize. I don't even remember what it was about anymore though!:) Thanks for sharing your origins!

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  10. Ha ha! Due to the magic of hoarder parents who were extremely proud of me, I have my Origin story in my hands, and have (embarrassingly) posted excerpts on my blog today. Great story, Jemi, thanks for sharing.

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  11. What ticks me off are the teachers (who are still out there) who MUST have the "perfect" resolution, disregarding (a bit) the work that went in. Glad you still liked your story...too many kids would have crumbled it up and been upset.

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  12. Yep all my school stories were really wacky. Weird Sci-fi abstract stuff that I had no idea made any sense until someone said something was good. LOL. Funny I don't much like Sci-fi nowadays!

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  13. I love that you wrote about your tennis experience--good and bad. I wrote about a lot of trips because I was always on my way to or from someplace with my family.

    Great blog hop going on.

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  14. We used to do a 'write a line and pass it back' story which was a ton of fun. Even though the kid behind me always added a frog. :)

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  15. It's so interesting how many of us put writing aside for years or even decades and then found our way back to it. Great story! And, I like that you let your readers decide on the tennis instead of giving them a conclusion!

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  16. LOVE your name, Jemi Fraser! ('Outlander' fan) *grin*

    The game of Tennis sounds like it might make a nice writer/agent analogy. Despite your teacher not appreciating your *lacking conclusion*, it sounds like the ball is now in your court! Swing away!

    Enjoyed your Origins here on the Fest!

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  17. Hi Jemi!
    I'm dropping by from the Origins Blogfest. Loved reading about how you got started writing thanks to that assignment.

    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  18. Funny how we remember those early stories! Yes...is tennis exciting or terrifying? Good question! Nice to meet you via the fest.

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  19. I'm so glad you were able to take part today! Pooh to the teacher for marking you down for not coming to a conclusion. :)

    Thank you for sharing!

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  20. Yvonne - I hated those sentences! I've never made my students do it! Definitely need more writing!

    Stina - I'm in Canada too! We don't do it anymore - thankfully :)

    CQG - it's funny how those details just kind of disappear with time. I don't have many memories of elementary school but this one is strong :)

    Jeff - that's awesome! As soon as I have a computer to wrk with, I'm checking it out!! :)

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  21. Stuart - thankfully I'd realized by then that most of teachers lacked a lot of creativity so it didn't bug me much :)

    Matt - thanks! Me too!! :)

    Jessica- I was a huge Star Trek fan and used to plot out stories in my head- wish I'd written some of them out!

    Lee - I guess we were already getting good at 'write what you know' :)

    Jean - love it! I'm going to have to figure out how to add a frog to this story now!

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  22. Julie - thanks! I liked the ending myself - and was annoyed the teachers didn't get it!

    Scarlett - thanks! I'm definitely happy I got into the writing more seriously a few years back! So much fun!! :) and, believe it or not, I'd never heard of Outlander when I chose my pen name :)

    Nutshell - my iPod will NOT let me type your name correctly! It's a fun blogfest for sure! :)

    Heather - nice to meet you too! It's a fun best! I'll pop by your 'place' once I have my computer back :)

    DL - so glad I could take part too! It's a lot fun!!

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  23. Ick! I remember diagramming sentences.
    I don't remember writing assignments, but we had lots of reading ones.
    And I was one of the shortest kids in my class, too. I was so proud when I hit 5'3"!

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  24. Diane - I never did get that tall!!! :) We didn't even get to read many good novels - mostly just old, old short stories. Thank goodness for the library :)

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  25. I only remember a poem I wrote in grade school--"An Ode to My Pencil Sharpener." It was meant to be humorous and I believe my teacher got quite the kick out of it. I wish I had kept it and the other stories I wrote in grade school! Thanks for sharing.

    Allison (Geek Banter)

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  26. great first story! writing what we know is tried and true!

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  27. Allison - sounds like a great ode! Kids have the best imaginations ever! :)

    Tara - it really is! And I think it's the best way for kids and adults to learn to write!

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  28. I didn't care for writing at such a young age. My Origin started only 2 years ago, but even at this point, I have to agree with you: it is both exciting and terrifying.

    I'm your newest follower via the Origins bloghop. (And I love your name, Jemi! Might have to use that in a book!)

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  29. Like you, I stepped away from writing fiction for years. You must be in writer's hell without your pc.

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  30. Nancy - so nice to meet you! I'll pop over to your blog as soon as I have a computer! I'm glad you like the name - it's after a great aunt :)

    JL - that is EXACTLY what it is! It's driving me completely batty! :)

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  31. I think I'd actually drool when the teacher said it was creative writing time. I make sure my class gets to write stories. The emphasis now is all on expository writing. *rolls eyes* Kids are fab storytellers. It's fun to let them go wild and see what they come up with.

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  32. Leslie - I agree! We don't get much time to let them write narratives either, but the kids love it when we do!

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  33. I wrote notebooks of stories in 2nd grade until a family friend passed away and I wrote about a funeral. My dad told me I should only write happy stories.

    So I stopped writing altogether. Because I'm stubborn like that.

    Good thing I started up again. I just wish it hadn't taken me 20 years!

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  34. Sephanie - it's amazing how powerful a comment can be. Especially when we're young. I'm so glad you did start writing again!!

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  35. I have a trunk FULL of my childhood writing. (I even won a state-wide short story competition in elementary school)

    I rather liked your conclusion, Jemi. (and I hated diagramming sentences too.)

    I hope you get your computer back soon. I know how frustrating this must be for you.

    Happy Valentines Day! *hugs*
    Love,
    Lola

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  36. What a shame that your school didn't encourage you to do more creative writing. We did essay writing every few weeks and I can remember being sent to the Headmistress for gold stars for my stories.

    Sorry to hear your computer's still ill. And as for the exciting or terrifying question. I feel that writing is neither. It's therapeutic.

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  37. This is a great story. It always amazes me that writers can remember the simple details of early school day assignments. I have asked my husband about his school years and he can't remember anything that does not involve sports (technically this would apply-it is about tennis)LOL.

    I am a new follower from the blogfest. It is my pleasure to meet you.

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  38. ahh, I'm doing the fest, yanno, so I have a few up on my blog. But LOL! To me, tennis is all terrifying. :D No, tennis is more humiliating and terrifying. I'd either get hit with the ball or I'd swing my racquet, and the ball'd just keep going... :D

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  39. Lola - thanks! I'm going more than a little buggy without it!! I didn't keep any stories at all - wish I had now :) And, yay you on the win!!

    Rosalind - I think it's more the journey of the publication attempts that is both exhilerating & terrifying. And fun! :)

    Leigh - love it! We all have our own fortes! And mine is no longer playing tennis - but I still love to watch! :)

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  40. I don't remember writing anything in grade school!
    I don't remember what I had for dinner last night either, so that doesn't mean much.
    Thanks for participating in the blogfest.

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  41. Alex - I think because we only had those 2 assignments, they stuck in my head. :) And I never remember those other details either!

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  42. Melissa - I don't know why, but your comment didn't show up in the original queue - sorry my response is late!

    I don't have many memories from elementary school other than 2 writing assignments and sports memories as well :)

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  43. During my early years in Sicily in the 1950s there were not many books around or magazines, our town actually did not have any shops except a small grocery shop. My mother, who came from the Ukraine, had studied and loved reading so she would often take a bus which took forever to get to the nearest town so that she could buy books and magazine for me and my brother to read. That is how my love for reading developed. I cannot write though, except letters. I do love to read what others write though. I am following you from Rome.

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  44. Francesca - so nice to meet you! What a great story! Your mom sounds like a most amazing woman. My love of writing sprouted from my love of reading - there's such a connection between the two! :)

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  45. What a wonderful story! And yes, I do remember writing in high school and college. It was an enjoyable experience.

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  46. It's funny how we remember assignments like that from long ago. Personally, I like your "non conclusion" -- let the reader use his/her brain, you know?

    And I still feel bad for your poor computer. :( Hope it comes back soon!

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  47. Enjoyed learning about your writing origins. Hope you get your computer back soon!

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  48. Jackie - nice to meet you! I didn't have a single creative writing assignment or lesson in high school. I did take one course in college & I loved it :)

    Shelley - I didn't think my non-conclusion was bad either! I'd proved both points in the story, so I think it worked :)

    Susanne - thanks! It was a fun write. And I'm really hoping my laptop comes home soon!

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  49. Diagramming sentences? Losing marks because of your neat ending? School's a funny thing. Glad you kept writing!

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  50. Deniz - it is a funny thing - and depsite it all, I became a teacher and a writer... what are the odds! :)

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  51. I don't remember my elementary school stories, but I remember many of the ones that came after.

    I thought it was a great feeling to have my bags loaded with books. Still do.

    I enjoyed reading about your writing origins.

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  52. Medeia - thank you! It's fun to look back and remember :) I wish we'd had creative writing opportunities in high school - no such luck. *sigh*

    And there is such a wonderful feeling about a bag full of books!

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  53. Hi Jemi, I remember some of my grade school assignments. I hope you're computer is back now.

    BWT, congratulations! You won a copy of my book on J.L. Campbell's blog.

    Email me to arrange delivery.

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  54. Hi Kiru - thanks so much! I've not been able to keep up - STILL no computer :(

    But I'll figure out a way to get over there to accept :)

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  55. I wrote - and read - all the time when I was a kid. I still think I have the best job in the world!

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  56. Beth - definitely! There's nothing like visiting those other worlds - whether we write them or are reading them! :)

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  57. Oh, I remember a story I had to write for my English class. Something about a big green giant stalking a town. I really don't remember it very well, but I'll never forget my teacher calling me up in front of the class to read it. Talk about embarrassing.

    Hope your computer woes get fixed soon.

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  58. Kathi - Sounds like a fun story - but I HATE when people are forced to read in front of the class! I'm hoping for a healthy computer very soon! :)

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  59. I have many of my grade school stories and artwork going all the way through high school. Its fun to take a trip down Memory Lane. I should take another look and perhaps there's a story there I can use.

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  60. Stephen - there might be a real treasure in there! I wish I had the original stories, but at least I have the memory :)

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  61. I had one assignment that the teacher failed me on because I included a unicorn, and unicorns aren't real. We were supposed to write a story, and in his mind, fantasy didn't count as a genre. Glad I didn't take that to heart!

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  62. Tiana - yikes! What a creep! I can't even imagine having that lack of imagination - or the lack of empathy as a teacher! So glad you ignored him too! :)

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  63. I wish I had some of my school work from when I was little...or even in high school. :( I save a lot of my daughter's school work, so she won't have that same void in her history...

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  64. Oh, those gradeschool assignments!

    I actually think in some ways, we gave more freedom back then--I look at what my state and district want the kids to do at ages 8 and 9...they care far more about form than thought. Who cares if you have the right form if there's no thought behind it!

    Hope the computer comes back soon!

    Shelley

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  65. Sharon - I've done the same with my kids. I remember the 2 stories I wrote, but I don't have them. I'd love to see how bad they really were!

    Shelley - school has really changed. I know in our Board, the emphasis is on thinking and inquiry and I love it! It's fun to watch the kids showcase their creativity :)

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  66. We have to do our own creative drawing and story-telling, so school has definitly changed!

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  67. Romance Reader - definitely! I think I became a teacher mostly because of my love of books and my desire to share that joy with others. Writing is all a part of it! :)

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  68. Ah, diagraming sentences. I remember that well. No creative writing until high school though I did make a few fabulous dioramas.

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  69. Theresa - we didn't get any creative writing in high school - and I took every English class available. Didn't have the chance to do dioramas either! :)

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  70. I really enjoy reading these! And I love your story. But I'd say BOTH exciting and terrifying!

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  71. Lisa - thanks! I kinda thought the same. I never did like sticking to the form - it's much mroe fun to push some boundaries! :)

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  72. When I was in second grade I wrote a book called Botchula for a class assignment. My mom had it laminated and we bound it with clips. It was about a boy named Tom who found an alien from the planet Botchula. I still remember the first line: "Ring ring ring rang Tom's alarm clock."

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  73. Susan - That's awesome! I love kids' imaginations - they come up with the most interesting situations! Your mom's a doll for keeping it for you! :)

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  74. I am glad you reached a most wonderful conclusion!!

    Keep it up..

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  75. Jeremy - thanks! I kinda liked the conclusion myself :)

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  76. I absolutely LOVE hearing how other writers got started. And I think it's awesome that you remember that assignment. Obviously it had a huge impact on you!

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  77. Julie - it really did! We only got to do 2 writing assignments - but I remember them both clearly! :)

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  78. Great origins story. :) And it's too bad you were marked down for the ending!

    I remember writing a story about taking my cat to the moon.

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