My True Confession

I’ve decided to come clean about my early life of crime. When I was in the sixth grade I wrote my first novel, over one hundred pages long, on school paper. Stolen paper from the supply cabinet at what was then the University Avenue School. I have to say in my own defense that it didn’t feel like stealing because in those days California public schools were rich in supplies and no one cared how much we used. There was unlimited lined and colored paper, enough pencils to build a fort, crayons and boxes of chalk that made a satisfying clink when you shook them, scissors for right and left handers. The supply room was huge and lined with shelves that almost literally bowed under the weight of rainbow colored construction paper. And there were enough rolls of crepe paper to festoon the city.

So, guilt free, I wrote my novel during arithmetic (a subject for which I had no time or aptitude) and entitled it “A Designing Young Teacher.” The title was carefully chosen. I recall trying out several others before I hit on that one. I was eleven and understood that “designing” in this title meant two things. Too clever for my own good, I’d say. ADYT was the story of a girl who taught school in the wilds of Northern Canada — my cousins lived in Vancouver and I romanticized their life beyond recognition. She spent her days slogging through snow and sleet between her cabin in the woods and the one room school house where she taught. At home she entertained herself designing clothes which I illustrated in the text, of course. Seems to me there was a boyfriend too but all this was very chaste, I’m sure. I was eleven and the times themselves were chaste. For a few years I kept the only copy of ADYT but somewhere between California and Australia, Canada and Europe and Central America it got left behind. I’ll never know what kind of dialog I wrote back then or if there was sufficient conflict in the first three chapters to hold the readers interest. Spelling was probably atrocious. Only fairly recently have I begun to feel guilty about the paper involved. I’m thinking I should find a way to do penance. Any suggestions?

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One Response to “My True Confession”

  1. Judy Reeves says:

    Well, Dru, now that so many schools are in such dire need of things such as pencils and papers, I suggest you make amends by choosing a school (or a teacher) and providing a supply of notebooks for their next journaling or creative writing assignment.