Stacks and Stacks of Notebooks

I did not really start writing until high school.

In high school, after a journalism class that was a disaster, I took a creative writing class. This went somewhat better, though the teacher was extremely offensive and annoying in a lot of ways. (He was a nice guy who was also a ridiculously stupid bigot of the variety who will cheerfully refer to Native Americans as belonging to a “dying culture” and therefore it was okay to engage cultural appropriation. No, I have no idea why he thought that.) 

I wrote a lot of poetry I’m embarrassed about, and a lot of short fiction I’m even more embarrassed about because they were very emotional, angst-filled “working out my issues” type writing. (The teacher liked the poetry. I did not like the teacher liking them. I also didn’t appreciate him calling my parents to tell them how “talented” I was.)

With high school, I began to develop the habit of keeping writing notebooks. I’d make some effort to hide them, and a lot of the time if I wasn’t happy with what I was writing, I’d rip the pages out and throw them away. I’d also make extensive outlines of worlds that I’d like to write stories in. Tons and tons of notes about imaginary countries and peoples. Of course if I wasn’t happy with those, they’d end up in the trash too. For some reason, I couldn’t just adapt and change and use the old notes to build on, I had to get rid of the old notes first before I could begin over again. (I have managed to break myself of this habit, more or less.)

What was generally really frustrating for me was that while I could make up the worlds, or create characters and situations, I had a lot of trouble with actually writing stories. For some reason I had it in my head that it was a waste of time to have a back ground, even though I didn’t have a story, just worlds I wanted to write about. (This has actually not changed very much.)

So I ended up keeping lots of notebooks, filling them up and often, not even bothering to put a date on any of the entries. (I am notoriously bad at remembering or putting down dates.) I have a drawer full of notebooks and at least five or six binders filled with various notes, attempts at poetry and fragments of stories. You can tell which are the oldest ones, because the paper is yellow, and they’re in pencil. (And nearly illegible.) Occasionally I read the oldest writing, though I generally don’t go very far because the writing is utterly horrible. (No really, it is. “Issue” writing may get a lot of crap out of your system but it generally makes for awful writing.)

The reason why I’m thinking about my writing is that I had a random thought of creating a blog to put all of my horrible old writing on. The problem with this idea is that I can read my old writing without wanting to change it, so the end product would not be a precise copy of my old horrible writing. (And also, I’m not really into humiliation.)

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