June 8, 2008

Autobiography of a Young Girl

When I was in 6th grade, my teacher had us write our autobiography. I was in a new school, having just moved to Massachusetts. I thought my autobiography was quite unique from all the other 6th graders in the class, because I was already experiencing hardships they had yet to discover—tragic hardships like moving to a new school in a new state, and having to make all new friends (oh, my!). I worked hard on that autobiography and I felt it was worthy of some kind of literary award, but the best I got was that it was displayed on the class bulletin board along with everyone else’s. After only four months at that school we moved again and the last I ever saw of my 6th grade autobiography was hanging by a thumbtack on a construction-paper-covered bulletin board.

Because I never got my autobiography back from my teacher (who, I was convinced, kept it because it was so good) I decided to write it over again. At first I tried to remember what I had written in the one I had done for school, but as time went on, I added a lot more to it—private stuff that I didn’t have to worry about my teacher reading or anyone else passing the sixth grade bulletin-board for that matter.

I added to my autobiography for years and when I stopped working on it, I started keeping a journal instead. My journal was told in story-like fashion complete with word-for-word dialogs that took place during my day. I wouldn’t write in a journalistic format like, My teacher yelled at me today when I was doodling at my desk instead of paying attention to her stupid lecture. I would write it like a story:
“Pay attention!” my teacher snapped at me as I sat doodling at my desk.
“Fine, whatever...,” I replied.


I didn’t realize it back then, but reading my old journals now--the ones I kept AFTER the burning diary incident (see "Before There Were Blogs" post below)--I notice I wasn’t just writing down my thoughts, I was writing my life story as it unfolded.

I guess not getting my autobiography back from my teacher was a good thing, because it got me writing things I might never have written about. Many of those events I wrote about would have been lost to frequent memory purges over time. Nevertheless, I still wish I had the original, first-edition copy of my autobiography. If by some chance my sixth grade teacher reads this, I'd appreciate it if you would mail me back the autobiography I wrote for your class. Maybe it was that good, you really did decide to keep it all these years.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a marvelous gift your teacher gave you. Asking you to write your autobiography at such a young age. Started you off as a writer. More teachers should do the same thing.

Sue said...

hey if you are going to have a blog you need to write in it more than this :)

Another Writer said...

you're right, sue! I do need to blog more, except with few readers commenting on each post, I got discouraged that no one was reading them.

Note to self: blog more, worry less about how many people actually look at it. :)

Writer on Board said...

Great blog, Cindy. You inspire me. I might even start collecting dolls. Thank you.

Another Writer said...

Thanks Writer_on_Board for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment. I know I've been lax in posting to this blog, but from the start I didn't want the blog to take away from my real goal of working on my books. Even though I haven't posted regularly to the blog, I am still here, sometimes lurking, sometimes working, but all the time anxiously craving feedback from people who stop by. :)