At the time, all we had in school was Dick And Jane. I supplemented Dick and Jane with simple stories of visiting the farm, a few of the things I felt that the Dick and Jane stories left out They were suburban, like me, but they just didn't seem to have a wide enough experience of the world, in my view. A little later I began a series of stories about two girls who were best friends, remarkably similar to my own best friend and me. The stories, I think, we also updated versions of the Maud Hart Lovelace Betsy-Tacy books. Turn of the century Mankato was transformed into suburban Minneapolis, with adventures such as: putting on a play in the garage, sleeping outdoors in a treehouse, and trying to avoid annoying brothers and sisters.
I had a brief foray into feminism with "A Girl on our Baseball Team": vintage about 4th grade. I am amazed at how undeterred I was by the fact that I didn't know anything about baseball. I tried my hand at mystery stories at least twice. And in junior high, I dabbled in science fiction. One earnest story, I remember, was about how the computers eventually took over the world, unwilling to leave it in the hands of fallible human beings. (I did not have any conscious knowledge of 2001 or "Hal" at that time. really.)
I wrote alone; I wrote with others. I remember one year going over to a friend's house nearly every day after school and taking out a cheap Schaeffer cartridge pen and sitting down together to write stories. We sat at a low child's table in her basement and scribbled furiously while the TV hummed in the background. We would take turns reading portions of stories to each other at the end of the afternoon.
In junior high I also experimented with some (in retrospect) really bad poetry. I started writing short humor pieces, as well. I continued to write stories: of families with many children, of campaigns for student council president, of young people running away from home. I wrote one humorous one-act play, and a story about a little girl who believed that someday she would be famous. It was called "destined."
However, somewhere along the line I just stopped writing stories. I think I was freer when I didn't know how much I didn't know. I wrote stories, unconcerned about facts, about research, about areas of the country, the world, and historical events. I wrote stories to make life more interesting than it was. I wrote stories just because I liked it. I wrote stories because I liked to hang around words.
I still like stories. And I like, more than ever, hanging around words, hearing the way they sound. But I haven't written any stories for a long time. I don't know exactly why. I know it's a lot harder than I used to think it was. Maybe that's part of it. Maybe I'm less curious too, but that would be sad. But sometimes I miss it: creating a little world, with people and places and plots thickening.
I wonder if I will ever write another story.