I didn’t really start taking writing seriously until 2013, but I’ve always enjoyed writing and would often do writing projects, all the way back to elementary school. My mom’s cleaning out her closet and stumbling across stuff from when my brother and I were kids, including some of my old writing. Middle school was a really terrible time for me, with friends betraying me and other crap, and one of the things I did to cope was to write for the school’s monthly newsletter. The way we worked back then (it was still the 1980s, after all), was I would handwrite it and turn it in so someone could type it up in newsletter format, and then they’d photocopy it and distribute.
The Horoscope Debacle
I wrote a horoscope column every month and occasionally did other things. I did the horoscope because I thought astrology was stupid and illogical and I was actually mocking it by making crap up rather than pretending to consult the charts. Things like “Your parents have a party and Aerosmith plays at it.” Not super clever. But whatever. Being me and 13, I wasn’t always exactly on time with my column. One month I was a little late, but got it submitted at the last minute.
The next week, the woman who ran the newsletter was stressed out when she saw me, and I learned that the minister at the church across from the school had complained about my horoscope column so they decided to stop running it. But because I was late, they thought I wasn’t going to submit it at all, so it ran that month even though the asshole church dude told them not to. It still annoys the crap out of me. I was mocking it, you dipshit. It reminds me of when people get upset about articles from The Onion because they think they’re real. Idiots.
I was so annoyed back then, but I was determined to figure something out. I knew I just needed something that split students up into a reasonable number of groups, 10-ish or so. We all had a homeroom, and while I don’t remember at all how those worked, I do remember I convinced the newsletter lady to let me run forecasts based on your homeroom. So that’s what I did. If you were in Mrs. Smith’s homeroom, you were going to have a surprise visit from a long-lost relative, for instance. So I got to stick it to the minister guy. Stay in your lane, jerk.
My favorite thing that came out of that body of writing is a memorable article called “Dogs of All Kinds.” Remember that somebody else typed this up. This is important, as even then I was pretty good with language and was careful. I’m just going to share an image of the article. Check out the first sentence of the third paragraph.
Why yes, I suppose some people do. My friend concluded that I was subversive even back then. I think it’s so funny.
But you can also see that I hadn’t yet been converted into a cat person at that point. Things have changed.