There's this place here in Seattle called the Salon of Shame where, if you’re brave, you can go and participate in an open-mic night. But not just any open-mic night. The courage required isn’t the usual sort, the ordinary kind you MUST have if you’re going to read your work in public, but the Salon of Shame demands bravery only found in those made of sterner stuff. On this night, artists bring some of their earliest creations to share - you know, the pages that have been buried in a shoebox in your closet since the eighth grade - so that attendees can "exploit our younger selves for your entertainment."
Time to 'fess up, everyone. We all did it. Writers especially have tattered notebooks brimming with brooding poetry, short stories that remarkably resemble our favorite novel at the time, and the beginnings of novels which we once secretly thought quite good.
Every five years or so I like to paw through whatever papers I’ve kept, sifting over old letters and journals and the odd high school essay that made the cut. They say that laughter is the best medicine, and this exercise always gives me a good dose of it. The absurdity of some of what I’ve written dampens any clouds of nostalgia and leaves me with a lingering fondness for that girl, the one scribbling away in notebooks in the back of classrooms.
What about you, dear readers? I know something has popped into your mind as you’ve been reading this: that angst-ridden love poem, those treasured song lyrics, a snippet of a story. Now’s your chance. Post anonymously if you must, but do let us have a glimpse of your past self. I’d love to read an excerpt or at least hear you describe your very first project. Exploit yourself for our entertainment! :)
And, in good faith, that SOMEONE else will post SOMETHING, I’ll share from my first “book”, a screed written during chemistry class (I’m sorry, Ms. Greene!) with my prized fountain pen (yes, I was that girl).
From the opening page:
Good weather was almost a celebration day for most common folk in Gwyrn, whereas the upperclass merely regarded them with disdain. The children scampered about with uplifted faces to the sun. One in particular stood out from the rest, but not by her own doing. Her long auburn hair was plaited and adorned with gold baubles; her skirts swished and sparkled in the sun, and her shoes – the envy of all the other children, but this was unbeknownst to the girl – laced up and around the thin ankles with cured leather thongs. The other children were common enough with simple garments although most were barefoot. Skipping gaily they cried out to each other with youthful voices. Out of the shadows stepped a tall, arrogant looking fellow dressed in brightly colored silks looking as if he didn’t want to dirty his soft, white hands with the peasant children, he grabbed the aforesaid girl and whipped her around.