Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Sarah, Grade 4

Indulge me, please. It's my birthday.

A time for looking back. And feeding the future.

So here's a window into my past. I wrote this little gem when I was ten. Try not to laugh (or yawn).

Once upon a time there was a girl named Shannon. She lived in a very big palace, but was not happy, because she could not marry the one boy she loved, Dusty. One day she sighed and said to herself, "I want to marry Dusty soooo much. I wish father would let me. Mother might let me, but father's opinion counts the most." Then, Shannon suddenly got a terrific idea that she would run a way! She grabbed a suitcase, and then packed in a hurry. She sneacked quietly down the stairs and ran out of the palace.

I know. Dusty. Soooo lame.

Names aside, I was happy to discover this fragment while rifling through old papers yesterday. Maybe this is overstating it, but it represents some kind of continuum to me, some kind of song from my youth that still reverberates today. So rare.

I never had that writing fever in my blood from an early age. I didn't spin wild tales for my friends (and yes, plot is still a weakness). I couldn't even keep a diary for more than a week without growing bored. My imagination grew mossy and fertile in books, yes. But I never thought I'd be writing them.

And yet here is a short piece I took the trouble to type, on my own. Not for school. Not for my parents. But simply because I wanted to tell a story.

And even if that story is slight and generic, I can recognize my present self in its lines. Maybe you can, too. There's something strangely grounding and comforting about that. So much about that girl in the photo is unrecognizable to me now. But there are these cobwebs connecting us.

As for what happened to Shannon and Dusty...who knows? Life is an open road. And I never want to reach The End.


Sheri said...

Sarah, I'm first to comment! Woowhoo! How exciting! I've never been first before.

First let me shout out a Happy, Happy Birthday! Here's your present... It's volumes of five paged journals so you can fill each one without feeling any pressure.

It seems you have always been a hopeless romantic, even at 10! I loved the line about how it was father's opinion that mattered most. How sweet. Were you a Daddy's girl? Or did you fear your Dad's wrath more than Mom's? I myself was a Daddy's girl who also feared his wrath...

Jaye Wells said...

Happy Birthday!

We all have to start somewhere. Plot is nothing without emotion. You obviously knew how to convey longing for a goal at an early age.

Anonymous said...

In the right light, those invisible threads glisten.

I get the sense you're finding them in order to weave them together. And to find their anchors, their direction. You're taking in hand your life's magnum opus in the making.

Happy Birthday, Sarah.

Sarah Hina said...

I love your present, Sheri. :) You know, I still wish I had kept a journal. I think I was always scared someone would read it (after all, that was always happening in the books I read). But I love your weekly diary idea...

I definitely feared my Dad's wrath more than my Mom's (who was always a big softie). I think the idea of running away is appealing to many kids, though I had it a lot better in my "palace" than most. ;)

Thanks for the warm wishes!

Jaye, I think I did harness my emotions pretty well from a young age. Distinguishing between what I longed for, and what others wanted for me, was more difficult.

Thank you for the kind words. :)

Jason, I do feel like things have been building for me lately, like I've been riding a bit of a wave. And I am so grateful for it.

Still, I think any opus I create will always be a collaborative affair. We don't create in a vacuum. And I'm happy to share that light with others. :)

Thanks for the birthday wishes! It's been a good one.

Aine said...

Oh! **clapping** Thanks for sharing!

Always searching for approval. And fighting to find your true identity vs. becoming what parents expect from you. Sounds familiar. ;)

I started keeping a diary at age nine. Interestingly, I remember journaling with the thought that my soul mate could one day read it (and he did!). I wanted him to know me completely. Crazy idealism... ;)

I think more of our younger selves live on in us than we'd like to admit. You seem to be finally clearing the cobwebs between the Sarah that everyone sees and the Sarah who you know, your true self. I hope your opinion will count the most from now on!

Aine said...

Geesh-- and how could I forget?!


Charles Gramlich said...

Happy birthday. I don't think I have anything from this early an age. Even then I remembered that I tended to write fantastic other worldly things, though.

There's always a continuum, between past and present.

Sarah Hina said...

Aine, I'm amazed that you had the foresight to journal, and with the hope of sharing it with your mate one day. Or maybe I'm not amazed. ;) It's a very romantic, and generous, gesture. I can definitely recognize your past self in the present Aine, too...

And you're right about those cobwebs. Some of the more negative ones tie me as much to the past as this one. But they're becoming easier to brush away.

Thanks so much for your kind words! Always. :)

Charles, this was cool to unearth. I didn't recollect the experience at all, so it came as a complete surprise.

I bet your early writings would be fun to read. Sounds like there is a definite continuum there. :)

Lena said...

that short piece made me smile :)
Really very sweet, i bet you smiled too when you found it :)

Happy happy birthday to you :)

Anonymous said...

Cute photo and happy birthday to you!

Now I want to know what happened to Shannon and Dusty next :)

I'm with you on never having the writing fever, although I do have an uncompleted w.i.p. from 5th Grade somewhere. It was a rambling, incoherent, adventure story featuring my friends and I ala The Goonies.

Sarah Hina said...

Lena, thanks! I did smile to find it. I had looked through that box of old papers several times in the past few years, but I must have somehow missed it. It kind of made me want a typewriter again, too. ;)

Paul, I think Shannon and Dusty made it. At least my ten-year-old self knows that.

Wow...The Goonies. That takes me back! Incoherent or not, I bet that story's fun for you to pull out and read every once in awhile. Maybe you didn't have the writing fever, either, but there was a germ there, at the very least, waiting to take root. And it has. :)

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

Belated Birthday wishes dear!

Indeed,the cobwebs of the past are the basis for our present.You looked as lovely as you do now even back then :)

Beth said...

Sarah, I'm singing Stevie Wonder's "Happy Happy Birthday to You" right now. ;) Even though I'm a bit late.

It's always neat to see how writers were as children. I was the opposite of you. I've been writing stories since I could write and my parents bought me my first typewriter when I was in grade school. I always kept a diary as well, but that was more to just log in those details of life. Not really to reflect.

Anyhow, I would love to see some of my younger work. Unfortunately, my mother kept none of it except for one letter I wrote the Mead Corporation when my notebook for school was short by 8 pages. Haha.

ChrisEldin said...

Very, very happy birthday!!!
I love your story--it's well developed for a ten year old. (I also once had a lusty for a Dusty. He was younger. Perhaps the same guy?)

Thanks for sharing your photo. You look pretty and smart!

Sarah Hina said...

Thanks, Sameera! And yes, the past is often the author of the future. If we let it.

Beth, it's a shame you can't look back on those earlier efforts. That Mead Corp. letter doesn't quite cut it. ;) But that's great that you were so consumed with writing from an early age. You've had that much time to grow.

Thanks, Chris. I think I look very eager to please in that pic. Which is appropriate.

I must have read the name, 'Dusty' in a book somewhere. He was probably the stable boy on a farm. ;)

Ello said...

I'm sorry I missed your birthday! I have been working feverishly on finalizing the revised manuscript and have started querying. shiver.

But I hope you had a lovely birthday! I love your picture! What a cutie! and a romantic even as a little kid.

aoc gold said...

What does the bee do?

Bring home honey.

And what does Father do?

Bring home money.

And what does Mother do?

Lay out the money.

And what does baby do?

Eat up the honey.

--------- by Age Of Conan gold