I wrote a book in high school

by Crom

Whoa. Wait. Before you make your usual positive socially necessitated comment (like “oh good for you” or “wow I should read that sometime”) let me clear one thing up. It was not good. It was the kind of thing that shows up in an airport coffee/snack/book store next to really old Dean Kuntz books, and a giant travel/map section. The kind of book that someone gets because they’re about to embark on a 9 hour flight to Ixtapa, and they didn’t bring anything to amuse themselves. It’s the kind of story that makes people who have never read fantasy novels, say they don’t like fantasy novels.

It was tired, and hackneyed. The plot was obvious and clumbsy, the characters shallow and poorly developed. Its overtones were so “I’m a teenager with no destiny who badly craves a simpler existence in which my intelligence would be worshipped by peasants” that even I had a hard time re-reading it. It was awful, but my mother said it was good. But, your mother is supposed to say that. I think more then anything she was impressed that I actually managed to finish it. I had hand written, in pencil, an entire book. That more then anything deserves some praise, the book however…does not.

I’ve tried to redeem myself, by starting a new one. One that wouldn’t be so parochial, or vapid; I’ve started it….SEVEN times. I’ve sat my ass down and written a beginning chapter to a new book, more times then I can remember, but those seven stick in my mind. Each time I was disturbed, something inside me made me want to write. So I got on my computer, or took out some paper, and started to write. And I would do so feverishly for about 45 minutes. I would smack out words and ideas and throw together clever witticisms and hilarious parts of my past disguised and occassionaly I would chuckle to myself. After those minutes of pounding out a story from the sumpish bog of my mind; and I would examine my work.

There are few things as terrifying as staring your own lack of talent in the face. The monster I’d created screamed back at me, mocking “HA HA FOOL EVEN YOUR GRAMMAR IS PATHETIC!” forcing me to shove my chair away from my desk, and go play Halo for awhile. But, as a dog comes back to its own vomit, I came back to my computer to try again. Invariably with the same results, and usually accompanied by a session of me throwing stuff around. The insanely frustrating part of it all, is that the ideas I usually think up for stories, are awesome…the execution of these ideas, is not. I once made up an entire trilogy from a forgotten phone call; the whole series would have been triumphant in its subtlety and grace. I couldn’t even think of a good opening to the first book.

I’ve tried different ways too, for awhile I suspected that my computer was the reason I couldn’t get anything good out of myself, that I would just distract myself with other junk. I went to the park for 2 hours, writing in a small black book. Not a single sentence of it made sense, not a one. I tried the library to no avail (it’s a terrible place to try to get work done; there’s always some bastard kids up to no good). No amount of tree hugging nonsense, or technical superiority could get me what I needed. I was desperate at one point, so I got insanely drunk before writing, and then mashed out material for 3 hours. The next day upon reading, I thought it was hilarious…but since the source of the hilarity was its complete lack of any sense whatsoever, it wasn’t really useful in the whole novel quest. It would have made more sense to purchase a burlap sack of cheeseburgers, and hand them out on the street.

Some day I’ll manage to think up the best opening to a novel ever, I’ll write something so awesome it will cave in my skull with its greatness and I’ll spend 13 months in ICU before being discharged as a homecare vegetable. And though my IQ will lower 140 points, and I’ll barely be able to use the bathroom properly, in my heart I will know that I am Kafka and the castle is finished.

  • I wrote a book in high school
  • by Crom
  • Published on January 1st, 2004

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