my early work is really quite remarkable. packed with passion and emotive description was i, at the ripe and prodigy-esque age of six – maybe six and a half. my first “short” – as us literary novices say – was entitled “why water’s great” and was a creative nonfiction piece about my family’s brand new hot tub. it was written for a class project on the conservation of water and, in words too well put together to paraphrase now, i wrote “i like water because it goes in our hot tub and when my daddy sits in it he says ‘ahhhh‘.”
thus began my career as a literary genius.
i was always very good at telling stories. i often spent the entire forty-five minute car ride home from school everyday telling my mother vital life lessons like how to tell time or how to make a hamburger. she never seems to sound inspired when she reminds me of that instance, but i am sure that that has nothing to do with the length it took me to describe one simple action, and everything to do with the fact that my father was more of the chef in my family. yes, looking back on it now i realize that my story was too much for my dear, barbecue-ignorant mother.
my literary pique, however – my joie de vie, if you will – came when i was seven years old after a rather painful incident involving a doorknob, my eye, and the simple act of walking. after months of self-reflection and the healing all too necessary to cope with the emotionally and physically tumultuous experience that is the black eye that followed, i did what any other great writer of my generation would have done and turned to pen and paper to express my pain. the words came easily to me, as they often do. it was as if the tears translated instantly to poetry as they hit the page, transforming a once-blank and stark white piece of paper into the photograph of a young girl’s tragic life: “my eye was really puffy and black,” i wrote. “it hurt bad.” my prose forthcoming, my pain clearly articulated, i added a lifelike illustration – courtesy of crayola – and handed it in, head bowed, to my third grade teacher.
it should be automatically assumed here how well-received my piece of work was. my father even went so far as to display it proudly on the wall inside his cubicle at work. i can only imagine it was so co-workers, as well as mere passersby, could stop, read and admire. he never told me its display was his way of showing off the unmistakable talent which he could then brag had sprung forth from his loins – but i knew that was why. no, instead, my parents told me that i never did in fact walk into a doorknob; that my black eye was merely a detail in a dream i once had – so vivid that, upon waking, i believed it to be real. their commitment to the lie was so steadfast that they even told every dinner guest invited into our home, every cashier at the grocery store, even every teacher i ever had. if it weren’t for my keen perception and superior intellect, i would have been humiliated and offended by their denial of such a traumatic experience; but i realized they were simply trying to lessen the devastation, so as not to take away attention from or threaten the soft, young egos of my two, less verbally-gifted siblings.
it is to both my mother and my father that i owe my humble disposition.