Thursday, May 20, 2010

History:Part 1

This girl is a woman now; I've just received my MSLIS, and I can't
wait for someone to give me a chance to use it. In the meantime, I'm
back at home in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, and you know what that
means -- I'm gonna scan in a bunch of old stuff from my childhood!
This time, I looked through a bunch of old notebooks I saved from middle
school and high school, all of them rich with old notes; amusingly half-baked,
smart alecky, and/or brutally honest school assignments; sketches; comics;
plays; poems; raps...I was pretty creative back then.

Some of the stuff was pretty disturbing... I wrote some mean things targeting
specific classmates, even turning in some of it for a grade! I can't believe that
it was accepted, and even given decent marks. Very pre-Columbine. But the stuff I'm
including in this post is material I still like today. Even the little story above which
hints at harm coming to a dog...that was out of character, but interesting.

For Part 1 of History, I'll post the "writing" selections from the notebooks.
Coming soon in Part 2 will be the comics and sketches...including a comic my friend
wrote about me back then! I promise you that this post will include some

Freshman English Class (1998-1999)

Above is a list of things I, 14-year-old Chrissy, would do for love, an
assignment given while my class was reading Return of the Native. What
kind of sociopath was I back then? This sort of filterless writing was typical.
I don't think I was aware that anyone would find this list to be out of the
ordinary. Was I being sarcastic? I'm not exactly sure. All I know is that my
morals have improved since then.

This is an example of "symbolism" I came up with to describe the events
taking place in the book The Grapes of Wrath, a book I greatly enjoyed.
Lamely, I used a turtle to symbolize the Joads' journey, as it was slow, etc.
Was I for real here? There's no grade on this paper, so maybe it was just an
example the teacher gave. But it's so dumb...I could see myself turning
something like this in as a joke between me, myself, and I. It wouldn't
be the first time I completely made fun of an assignment for the benefit
of self-amusement, even at the risk of a lower grade. This was back in
freshman year of high school, of course...again, my morals and work ethic
improved as I grew older, and continue to develop.

The following three examples were from a journal we kept of Romeo and Juliet -related assignments:

Here is a "conceit" I wrote about unrequited love, although we were given
a choice between writing on this theme or writing on "love at first sight".
"Unrequited love is a disease like chicken pox/which you can give but
won't get back again," my 14-year-old hand wrote in the girly handwriting
which didn't come naturally, but which I briefly affected in an uncharacteristic
attempt to conform with others. Where did that little gem come from? That
wasn't bad at all! I don't remember being 14 years old and not wanting to get
out of bed in the morning... at least not because of unrequited love. I wrote some
promising poems back then (for my age), and now I never come up with serious
poems. I don't know where I got the information to write something like this, as I
never loved anyone in that way, nor had I caught chicken pox.

Above: In another example of sociopathy/honesty, my response to the question,
"What would you have done if you were on the streets of Verona and a fight broke
out?" Referring to the fight at the beginning of Romeo and Juliet. I also cussed
lightly. Some of this stuff is so embarrassing; I wish I had been more respectful.
It's stuff like this that kept me out of the top ten.

Above: We were to write a "fractured fairy tale", a.k.a. an alternate, twisted
retelling of Romeo and Juliet, and of course I made it so that Romeo dies,
but Juliet ends up becoming a necrophiliac. Of course. Boy was I an eerie kid.
I was apparently so innocent that I didn't know why this couldn't work out,
yet perverted enough that I somehow came up with this unique idea and found
it appropriate to submit to a teacher. Can you believe this?

Freshman World Cultures Class (1998-1999)

World Cultures was a class that I enjoyed and excelled in. I have negative feelings
about this class, however, because I was mean to the teacher. Early in
the year, I was seated next to two close friends, and I would converse with them
and eat Power Bars during class, which was disruptive and arrogant. I received
top marks on all the quizzes, but my friends received D's and F's, I think. After a
couple weeks, this disruption and distraction of my friends got old, and my teacher
rightfully reseated me. Being immature back then, however, I held a grudge against
this teacher for the rest of the year, turning in violently-themed and sarcastic
assignments that nevertheless received top marks. I feel horrible about my bad
attitude to this day. This was a good teacher, new at the time, and I think I wore
him down after awhile, or at least made a bad impression of myself. A student would
not be able to get away with stuff like this today. Maybe I feel bad because I know
what I know now...maybe we were all obnoxious brats back then, and I'm over
sensitive about it because I hang on to every detail. I seem to remember that
kids were more comfortable with my sense of humor back then. No one was
calling me a psycho early in freshman year. It's interesting to see these
assignments today, though. I remember that one of the lost ones had a
comment that I "have a future as a satirist".

Exhibit A: Was this even an assignment? There's not really an explanation
for it. An anti-death penalty statement, perhaps? I mean, the teacher commented
on it, and it's drawn in crayons, indicating that it was more than an in-class
doodle...but what on earth is this? By the way, the boy drawn in this picture
is based on my friend Karl, but I wasn't mad at him at the time or anything.
We always got along, but during our teenybopper years I guess we had sort
of a love-hate relationship.

Exhibit B: We were learning about the Chinese Zodiac and asked to create
our own Chinese-style zodiac sign. This wasn't so bad; "has very short
friendships" was kind of clever, as was "least compatible with other
cannibals". It was dark, but in that charming Grimm's Fairy Tales way.

The Greatest Thing I Ever Wrote?
Of course, I did a lot of writing during my free time, too, or while bored in class.
The following might be my greatest achievement to date; a play I started to write
about myself and my friends 20 years into the future (which would now be 9 years
into the future). It's based on the John Updike poem "Lament for Cocoa," which
my 9th grade English class read and I remember really getting a kick out of and memorizing. 

Read this script. It is truly excellent and eerie. I am so glad I found this, as I had completely forgotten about its existence. This is the best thing that has ever been published on my blog to date.

Tune in next time for more "history."
Again, part 2 will concentrate on my old drawings and comics.

And, of course, take the Bibliowhining survey and become a fan on Facebook.


  1. That's awesome that you still have so much of that stuff, Chrissy! I have my Creative Writing journals (btw, why did Denato take 2 points off because SHE didn't like certain things like depressive material, lol?!)...but I didn't keep much from Freshman year, sadly. :{ Loved Risley's antics, too. I miss the "stress" of High School sometimes. It's much better than today's stressors, no?

  2. Haha, funny stuff to be sure. I think I remember that picture of me hanging, don't remember what for, though.

    Your Juliet as a necropheliac is even better than when I wrote one about the guy seeing himself in the mirror after he had a love potion.

    You're right though, we (not just you or me either) used to get away with all kinds of absurd shit back then, pretty amazing. Don't feel bad for teachers I felt neutral towards, but the ones I really liked and didn't like may have occasionally had it rough.

  3. Hey, what's a MSLIS?

  4. It's a type of masters degree. Master of Science in Library and Information Science.

  5. I think your Romeo and Juliet story is better than the other one that William (whatever his name was) guy wrote.

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