I was obsessed in a twelve year old sort of way, as if that is much different than a fifty year old sort of way. It’s not. An obsession is an obsession no matter how old a person is. I’m not talking about girls. My interest in girls started at around six.. years, that is. It wasn’t a video game. I’m fifty one years old, so all you have to do is a little math to figure that one out.
My cousin had showed me a “movie script” that he had written with friends. It was funny and cool to me. The thought did not occur to me that it might be nerdy, mainly because the term “nerd” had not been invented yet. Neither had “geek”. But my cousin and his friends were two years older, so I couldn’t be included in their little movie script writing group.
It didn’t matter. As a matter of fact, I discovered that it was more fun to write a script on my own, for myself. I thoroughly enjoyed what was rolling out of my mind and reading it. I wasn’t sure anyone else would like it, was pretty sure that I didn’t want to take the risk of letting someone else read the scripts I wrote. In the span of a few days, I had hand written in pencil two ten page scripts, reading each over and over again. I wrote during class, at lunch, whenever I got the chance. I truly was obsessed.
I was totally focused on my latest gem, “The Battle of the Bulging Toilet Bowl”, during fifth period social studies, writing feverishly as I sat behind Debbie Hamilton. Debbie was one of those snotty girls who wanted to be popular, enough that it made me want to torment her. She had long, straight blonde hair that fell across the front of my desk, so I brought colored markers with me to class and colored bands in her hair. As she left class each day, she looked like someone had weaved beads into her hair. I was amazed how long it took her to figure out that it was happening and when it was happening. If I remember right, it took over a week. When Debbie finally caught me coloring her hair, she turned around and shoved a thumb tack into my stomach. The vicious look of anger on her face stills visits me in nightmares to this day. What was odd is that our social studies teacher chose not to move us. So when my revelry of writing was interrupted by a tap on my shoulder, the first thing I saw when I looked up from the sheets of script I had written was a sneering Debbie. Mr. Hilligoss had stopped his lecture and was standing over me.
“You want to give that to me, Spider?”
Mr. Hilligoss was also my basketball coach. He always called me Spider, a title I earned by my running style as I ran laps during basketball practice. As he looked at me with his hand held out to receive my script, he had the same cockeyed grin on his face he always had when he addressed me. I handed over the script as the whole class looked on. I was horrified as Mr. Hilligoss walked to the front of the class, sat on the front of his desk, and began reading from my script.
He began laughing as he read, with tears in his eyes. The class laughed with him. I could feel the blush along with the exhilaration. I enjoyed the attention, but I also was embarrassed. The writing was for my enjoyment, not really something I wanted to share. Mr. Hilligoss read until the bell rang and he dismissed the class.
“Steve, this is really good. You should really keep writing. Just don’t do it during my class.” I looked at him. It was obvious he meant it. “I’m going to keep this, if you don’t mind. I want to show your writing to a few people. Plus, just maybe this will be worth something some day.”
I never saw that script again.
I have always enjoyed writing for myself. But I have always resisted calling myself a writer. I’m still thinking about that day in fifth period social studies, the blush I felt, the worry that what came rolling out of my mind onto the paper in front of me was really only good enough for my enjoyment. Perhaps there is also the responsibility that goes along with being called a writer. I’m not sure I am ready for that.
Of course, I did like it that Lori Weatherford seemed to notice me a lot more after that. I had one serious twelve year old crush on that green eyed red head.
NaNoWriMo is next month. Last year I managed to make the 50K word goal by the end of the month. I’m not sure how I did it. I started the month with no clue, just sat down and started to write about what was around me at the moment. It turned into a story. I smiled as I wrote and read, hesitating to let anyone else read it. I half expected to feel a tap on my shoulder.
This year, though, my goal is to write something that I can share. I am preparing to write this year’s NaNo by participating in a October prep challenge at a writing website. I’m learning a lot and excited about what the preparation is bringing out, as I put together a list of characters and write their profiles, work on an outline, write a story outside of the story for the protagonist, etc…. This is a new experience for me.
Maybe in a few months I may have another piece of writing to share with Mr. Hilligoss. He is a Facebook contact, after all.