By Michelle Drozdick
When I was seven, my parents replaced the family typewriter with our very first computer. It was a yellowish, off-white monstrosity with keys that clacked loudly enough to wake the dead. I spent most of my time on it playing solitaire, making pictures in Paint, and writing stories.
The very first story I can remember writing could only be described as an elementary school soap opera. A girl and her best friend steal her mother’s jewelry, with plans of holding it for ransom, as revenge for not being allowed to buy ice cream. However, a classmate catches wind of their plan, and in turn blackmails them for the ransom money. It was a pretty intricate plot for a seven-year-old, which is probably why I gave up on it after three paragraphs.
Other stories followed, such as a Halloween thriller in which the “ghosts” revealed themselves to be the neighbors by shouting “TIRCK or teat! Smell my feet!” Continuing the trend of creative spelling, the next story was an exciting tale featuring “Shorlock Homes”. As I was unfamiliar with the source material, this version of Sherlock Holmes was a cowgirl sheriff that rode around the wild west and shot criminals “in the face.” These stories were, of course, terrible, but I remember them fondly.
I’m still writing, and I still find everything I create to be at least a little cringeworthy. Every so often I’ll stumble across a fanfic I wrote in high school, or a college-era short story, and every time, without fail, my reaction is one of embarrassment as I wonder how I could have written something so awful. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. If I didn’t look back on my previous writing and find at least one thing wrong with it, it would mean I wasn’t improving. I’d rather be critical of what I write than still be telling the tale of the second grade jewel thieves. (I’m suddenly tempted to revisit that story.)