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I found childhood treasure!

Backstory:

Every year of elementary school, each student had to publish an original work. Every grade level wrote within a larger organizing genre. In 2nd grade, we wrote an alphabet book using alliteration (mine: "Monsters and People A to Z,"). And, in 4th grade, we wrote a collection of poetry demonstrating several forms and traditions. This may have been the professional highlight of my elementary writing career. This was the year my work was selected to represent my elementary school's 4th grade class at the county-wide Young Authors' Fair.

Highlights of the Young Authors' Fair included several hilariously non-literary forums, including how-to-be-a-clown, face-painting, and making-balloon-animals (my 3 choices), as well as AUTHOR READINGS. That's right, children reading their work to 30 or so parents and school administrators. I remember being very self-conscious while reading my Not-Safe-For-Elementary-School poem that rhymed Elvis and "pelvis," and being concerned people would think I was earnestly interested in Elvis's pelvis. In my defense, I am fairly certain it is impossible to write a non-dirty limerick.

Anyway, my 4th grade collection was for the masses. My 5th grade publication was my true opus. For 5th grade, the task was narrative fiction, specifically the short story. Following the success of my poetry collection, I felt confident I could take on a more ambitious project, and with permission of my teacher, attempted to write a multi-chapter novel.

Writing such a large project was not beyond the scope of my imagination or reading level, but unquestionably beyond my organizational abilities. I wrote several conflicting outlines, labored over original character names, and pushed deadlines to the very last minute. (This will be evident when you read it!) While I did get my story out in time for the presses, it did not meet the deadline for YA Fair. Grown-ups reassured me I was ineligible anyway because I attended last year.

However, I was mostly concerned that the version published was a very rough first draft and wished very hard that no one would ever read it. I think I intended it to be somewhere around 20+ chapters, and the final copy only included 5 1/2 (if you count the prologue!) For YEARS thinking about it made me feel uncomfortable. There is a similar incident in 7th grade when I attempted to write a symphony.

Anyway, while visiting family this past week, I discovered my elementary school publications in a very worn box at my dad's house.... and so, Julie and I read "THE GEM" ... and it is hilarious.

Enjoy.

Title: the Gem
Fandom: Original (slight crossover with daytime soaps* and looney toons if you squint)
Word Count: no clue. we didn't have spellcheck back then either
Trigger Warnings: graphic violence, murder, gore, child labor and human trafficking, pizza assault, starvation, white ghosts of exposition, internalized racist ideas of beauty, threats of damnation, body possession, unintentional gender swap, fuzzy math, gratuitous roadrunner.

* my family was HARDCORE into Days of Our Lives, which was SO FUCKING GOOD in 1993. Also it got really supernatural and weird. The Devil possessed Marlena and Vivian buried Carly alive in a coffin, then taunted her from the outside via walkie-talkie!!!














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