KID SCRIBBLES (also known as: My Mom Keeps EVERYTHING)

My first "published" book, Age 8.
My first “published” book, Age 8.

I was not one of those kids who wanted to be a writer when she grew up. I wanted to be a famous singing act with my sister (neither of us can hold a tune, by the way), then a vet, an orthopedic surgeon (did I mention I sucked at math and science?), until I finally settled in my teens on what I considered the perfect career — a news anchor. I held on to that one right up until I graduated journalism school, when life took a crazy turn and I had to reconsider everything.

But if you were to ask me what I loved the most as a kid, I would have said reading. I LOVED TO READ. Yet for whatever reason it never occurred to me that I could be on the other side of those books I hid under the covers reading by flashlight, long after bedtime. Despite my lack of writer awareness, seems I did pen a few stories back in the day. And because my mom keeps EVERYTHING (I do not have this gene, and apologize to my daughter often for it), I still have a few of those gems tucked away. In her infinite wisdom — perhaps mother’s intuition — she also had a couple of those stories bound, which is beyond special to have now. I plan to do the same for my kiddo when she writes her first story — as long as I can count on my mom to keep it safe until I get around to it (thanks, Mom).

One theme I noticed in much of my early writing is that it always involved animals. Like ice skating elephants that fall in love, and hippos that go missing from the zoo, and BFF mice that love cheese, have a fight, and do the right thing by saying “sorry.”

photo 2
My best friend is grey with long whiskers, and is very small and shy. And, oh, I almost forgot! She loves cheese!
photo 3
One day I got mad at her because she lied about our friendship.











Even though my stories these days are not guaranteed Happily Ever After, seems that was a requirement when I wrote AND illustrated (I know, I know, you’re impressed) MY TRUE FRIEND at age 8. Also, I discovered my preference for first person started way back when.

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“Sorry,” said Miss Mousy as though she meant it. “Sorry,” I said. I REALLY did mean it.

I also found a play I wrote in high school that bears a striking resemblance to the concept of my “practice” book – the one that sits on the proverbial shelf and acts as a reminder that I have learned a thing or two along the way. It was a tad eerie to find it in the pile of art, knickknacks, yearbooks, and report cards I was “gifted” when my mom cleaned out the attic — my mind already thinking about plotlines and storytelling tricks.

So while I say I’m as surprised as anyone I’m now a writer and author, the trip down the memory lane of my early scribbles might suggest otherwise …


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Karma Brown is the author of COME AWAY WITH ME (MIRA/Harlequin, September 2015), an emotional story of one woman’s discovery that life is still worth living, even if it’s not the life you planned. Karma is also a National Magazine award-winning journalist, and lives outside Toronto, Canada, with her family and their mischievous labradoodle puppy, Fred.

This article has 8 Comments

  1. Too cute! You were quite the artist at 8. 🙂 I’m also terrible at keeping things my kids make. I don’t know the rules of what to keep, because they each make about 4 million pictures every single day and if I kept all of them we would eventually drown in crayon-covered paper.

  2. Karma, your 8-year-old illustration skills were astounding! Very neat and precise. Also love the emotional subtext here! And if I send some of Kavi’s art your way, will your mom save it? My mom doesn’t save anything (except closets full of horrific clothes from the ’80s and ’90s), and apparently I’m not so great at that, either!

  3. “And because my mom keeps EVERYTHING (I do not have this gene, and apologize to my daughter often for it)…”

    Well, it cuts both ways. Some of my earliest efforts are lost, and, looking at it objectively, it’s probably just as well.

    Or, as Dr. Watson used to say, a tale for which the world is not yet ready. 🙂

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