Where Did My Writing Begin?

I’ve read a couple of “How’d I get here?” blogs. I like them. They inspire me.

The first thing I remember writing was in second grade, to my teacher Mrs. Holdereid. She lived down the street from me, actually. 2nd grade really didn’t have classes I remember. I only remember a class assignment I drooled over. She told us to write out our worst nightmares ever (read that with a childlike Evar). I raised my hand and asked, “Anything? The worst?”

“The worst thing you’ve ever remembered dreaming.”

So I did. It was terrible–my handwriting is still preposterous due to carpal tunnel–but I got a big, bubble-lettered page of it. I handed it in, thought nothing more of it.

Three days later, on a Saturday, she called me and my parents down to her house. She never did that before or since. I didn’t even know she lived on the street until then. I thought I was in huge trouble. As a kid, I also didn’t know what I did wrong, so I figured I’d steel myself against anything that I might or might not have done (I’ve been a troublemaker since I came out of the womb), and had an apology prepared.

She invited us in, offered me some milk or tea–I don’t remember which I drank, but I seem to remember tea–and sat us in plushy old maid chairs. My mom wrung her hands.

“The reason I called you down is I want you to pick another nightmare, Chris.” What? “It’s too scary.”

“What do you mean?” She said I could write anything. I raised my hand specifically. I remember that nightmare to this day. See, I suffered from night terrors when I was younger. And I still have the whole sleep paralysis thing going once in a while. So I had some doozies.

“What’s your second worst nightmare.” She looked at my mom in a kind of warm, smiling, well-meaning fear. “Can you tell me one?”

I felt crushed. At the time I was totally deflated. My worst nightmare was too scary. I knew my second-worst, my fifth-worst, my tenth worst nightmare would still scare the bajeezus out of anyone, so I went with my most recent one: garden-variety eyeball monster that came out of the sand on some beach. Cut and dry. She took it.

I’ve been writing my nightmares ever since, and just like the first time, still nobody wants to publish them. ~x


2 thoughts on “Where Did My Writing Begin?

  1. I think it’s awesome that you wrote something that terrified your second grade teacher! I can see how it wasn’t at the time, though.

    It makes me curious to read your dreams. Coincidentally, there was a Nightmare on Elm Street marathon on SyFy all day yesterday. Because you have so many intense nightmares, do you feel cursed or haunted in any way? Do you fear going to sleep?

    I actually dreamed about you the other day as well. You and I and a mutual girl friend of ours met up at a gigantic stadium. I stayed behind to change my shoes and lost both of you. Next thing I know, you and I are in a room watching a movie. You were taking extensive notes in a notebook. I was interested in the fact that you weren’t just watching the movie but studying it.

    • I used to be afraid of being alone, and darkness, and being alone in the darkness. Sleep gave me a focus, if that makes sense. It shed light, and was a cocoon against the darkness. Hard to explain, but I think you understand.

      My books are riddled with nightmares and dreams. Every major piece of inspired work came from a dream. If my character is involved in a supernatural scene, or a “what the…?” moment, you can be pretty sure I dreamed it.

      I’ve dreamed about you from time to time, too. I just don’t remember what it was about. That’s how things go, I guess. Nice to know I’m on your mind.

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