Wednesday, December 2, 2009

From the Vault

My mom saved a lot of stuff from my school years and when they moved she gave it all to me. The cardboard box in the basement contains old report cards, class schedules, certificates of achievement (I was a kick-ass speller), art projects (including a smoking Frenchman. Good luck getting away with that nowadays.), and some writing.

One piece of writing is a story I wrote some time in elementary school. I've typed it below and included a couple of clickable pictures. I also added editorial comments in red. Like the Crash Test Dummies song, the story is untitled. Unlike the Crash Test Dummies song, the story sucks. Without Freddy Adu:


One day a little boy said, "When I grow up I am going to be a policeman."
[Nice start here. You wasted no time in establishing the main character's goal.]

"You are?" said his dad.


"Well when I growed up I wanted to be a person that works at a gas station," his dad said.
[And with grammar like that, he was probably shooting a little high.]

"Dad, I want to make up my own mind," the boy said.
[Ah! Conflict. And we have some characterization here. The boy is not to be bullied by his uneducated, wannabe gas station attendant father. It's getting good now!]

"Okay then."
[So much for the conflict. How much more interesting it would have been if Dad had been involved in some criminal enterprise. Perhaps he could be stealing gasoline from the stations that refused to hire him. How delicious that would have been. The father could have actively worked to sabotage his own son's career, fearful that his thievery would eventually be discovered.]

Boy, I'm a grown up! I am a policeman! And here is my motorcycle!
[Might wanna work on the transition from child to adult here. And having the character struggle to reach his goal is usually recommended. Plus, where exactly is this motorcycle?*]

Oh, no. Here is a bad guy. Here is my motorcycle. And here I go!

I got the bad guy. I have the bad guy.
[Hmm. Interesting use of repetition. A chase scene might have been good. Or maybe the bad guy could, I don't know, actually do something bad, like take a gas station manager hostage. As for the illustration, is there a reason it's upside down?** Is that symbolism? A metaphor that I'm failing to understand? And what's with the criminal's arms? Is he some sort of man-bird hybrid? Because if he is, you probably should have mentioned it.]

The End
[And not a moment too soon.]

*There is no motorcycle because I couldn't draw motorcycles. Still can't.
**The pages are upside down because I screwed up and the teacher didn't have the heart to make me redo them. So she just stapled 'em in there. Truth: I kind of like it.


Heather Lane said...

Paul--I just stumbled across my own one of these, and on the cover, in crayon, under the title, I wrote something like:

not published (yet)

Ahhh I have come so far in life...

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

Now that's a story for the kids!

Anita said...

My mom doesn't give me anything, because I'm one of those people who throw/give things away. She still has my wedding dress.

I like that you didn't attempt a motorcycle. You know your limitations and that is a gift. You are gifted.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

At least you didn't call me special.

The Wife said...

I used to have a box of things like this. The Blogger threw it away. It was kind of an accident (long story) but every once in a while I remind him that he threw away my memories. Then I get whatever I want.

Tina Lee said...

Clearly your skills as a writer go way back. And I like the way you break it down. Where the story works, where it doesn't. Just like the reading as a writer class I took in grad school.

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

Nice story. The bad-bird-guy might make a good picture book.

I got a box like that last year...filled with report cards. I remember being a lot smarter than my grades indicated.

Monica said...

nice, PMM. Love your use of language even then. My mom has all sorts of stuff from my childhood. Including a story about what kind of a house I wanted to live in, which looks eerily like the house she lives in now. hmm...