Tormenting Characters from an Early Age

This week, the Debs are sharing our early scribblings. Thank heavens for my mom, who had the foresight to save a few childhood masterpieces, otherwise I’d be sharing essays from college on the parallels between Paradise Lost and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s epic poem, Aurora Leigh (a magnificent read if you’re into such things) – and nobody wants that. It became clear that from an early age, I was not kind to characters. I remember writing gory horror stories in eighth grade (thankfully these no longer exist) – I’m a little surprised my teacher didn’t recommend counseling. Below are some samples of my earlier fiction.

I AM THE LAST FREE BIRD

This was written pre-cursive writing, so probably third grade. I generously dedicated it to “EVERYBODY,” so you’re welcome. All illustrations are my own, in case there was any doubt. This tells the tale of Christa Cardinal whose family is kidnapped by dastardly zookeepers. She barely escapes with her brother to travel the world.

midpageCardinal-1

One day, we were invaded by zookeepers because of that I flew away with my brother! The rest of my family was caught by the zookeepers! We flew all the way to Asia! We settled in a desert near India.

Soon after, Christa’s brother is taken too, leaving her alone to wander the globe. In Africa, she meets a comedian rabbit named Robi who tells her jokes. She leaves him to return to her home in Texas, where our story ends on a bittersweet note. Christa is reunited with her family, but joins them in captivity.

lastpageCardinal-2

Then I went back to Texas and went to a zoo in Dallas. I saw every kind of bird in the world.
There was my family! But I got caught.

 

NINE DAYS OF SURVIVAL AT MT. EVEREST

This was written later, after I’d learned to write using cursive. I present the text in its entirety so you can appreciate my willingness to torture my characters. All typos are replications of the original text. I’ve added a few editorial comments in brackets because I couldn’t resist.

Day One

I was mountain climbing today. Then I stepped on a loose stone and fell to a ledge. A cave was next to me so I decided to camp here. Then I realized my climbing gear fell down the mountain. I was stranded! [It begins.]

Day Two

When I woke up I saw a boulder in the entrance to the cave. I was trapped. Then I hear a rattle. I turned one my flashlight. A rattlesnake was there. Before I could kill it. It bit me so I quickly got venom from its teeth. [I was a quick thinking protagonist.]

Day Three

Today I decided to walk further down the cave. When I was at least a half a mile down the cave a wolf jumped in front of me. [A rare cave-dwelling wolf.] I took out my gun and killed. I used its meat for food. I camped here for the night.

Day Four

Today I came to the middle of the cave and I fell into a deep hole. When I landed I saw trees, light, animals, and fresh water. [The logistics of this boggles my mind.] A huge thumping noise came from a willow tree. I saw a huge figure so I ran back to the cave. [Foreshadowing! I think.]

Day Five

Today I barely escaped a landslide. I was almost positive that I was in a big joke with someone. Except I’m a victim. [How meta of me.]

Day Six

Today I was trapped by a mountain tiger. [Apparently Mt. Everest is riddled with cave-dwelling predators.] I was nearly killed. I was lucky that I have a rifle with me or I would of been a nice snack. His meat was good and his fur warm.

Day Seven

Today I came face to face with bigfoot. Soon we became very good friends. He helped me get food. [Because the wolf and tiger were not enough to eat for one, young girl].

Day Eight

Today I was ice fishing when a huge creature came through the ice I figured I’d better split before it got me. [My character is the only Everest survivor to gain weight.]

Day Nine

Today I found the exit to the cave. When I got out I started running because I saw a helicopter land one a large ledge. I was so happy I was rescued. I will soon write a book called NINE DAYS OF SURVIVAL ON MT. EVEREST. [Well, I’d write a book one day, but about cake instead.]

Everest

 

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Amy Reichert

Amy E. Reichert is the author of THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE (Simon & Schuster/Gallery, July 21 2015), about food, love, and second chances, and where serendipity comes in the form of a delicious coconut cake. Find out more at amyereichert.com.

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Author: Amy Reichert

Amy E. Reichert is the author of THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE (Simon & Schuster/Gallery, July 21 2015), about food, love, and second chances, and where serendipity comes in the form of a delicious coconut cake. Find out more at amyereichert.com.

11 Replies to “Tormenting Characters from an Early Age”

    1. I love seeing you on these blogs, Elizabeth! Good to know at least one family member knows what I’m up to! Now get your friends to read and then I’ll have an excuse to do a signing in Raleigh.

    1. I’ve definitely gone towards the more mushy end of the spectrum – though I like the not-quite-so-happy ending of the cardinal story. Young Amy wasn’t afraid to take risks with her storytelling.

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