I Wrote my First Book in the Third Grade.

The nature of writing and the process of writing is such that you are forced to spend a lot of time in your head. A lot of time reflecting. Dwelling. Stewing. Imagining….etc.

This is probably why so many great writers had serious chemical dependency issues and more than a few have punched their own ticket. You’re up in your head, with no one to share the madness. And writing is such an isolated process…unless you enjoy taking your notebook to a coffee shop and taking that end stool so everyone can see what a deep, interesting person you are. To hell with that.

Putting this blog together has given me the opportunity to crack open the vault and dig through the piles of scrawlings stored within. There have been some surprises, and material that is downright embarrassing. Last night, as I was mining my genius, I came across my first true effort as an author…and illustrator.

In 1979, I was in the third grade. I had a mean old bag for a teacher, and all the kids secretly hoped for her demise. The power of the group mind is powerful, and for some reason she got sick and left for the remainder of the year. I have no idea what it was, but it was bad enough. This cleared the way for a seriously cool teacher, whose name was Ms. I Have No Friggin’ Clue.

My school hosted “Young Author’s Day,” and I am pretty sure that it is still going on, but maybe not as my school handled it. For a few weeks in the spring, every student in the school (k-6) dropped everything and made a book. Then, they were proudly displayed at reading tables in the gym. It completely rocked, and it was my favorite thing.

And that was the spark, clearly. A lot of kids wrote dumb shit about their pets or their family. NOT ME. I wrote a SCIENCE FICTION EPIC that featured foreshadowing, humor, glitzy high tech, classic space opera, full color illustrations, and a healthy amount of copyright violations. I even had the balls to use cursive script throughout. Looking at it, there’s still quite a bit of that kid hiding in my adult armor, battle-scarred and all.

And now…”THE WAR OF THE WORLDS.”

Is that title public domain now? It is pretty old.

12 thoughts on “I Wrote my First Book in the Third Grade.”

  1. This is seriously awesome. I love the collage technique and did you notice that you were using brands in your fiction even then? The blob was killed with “Alka Seltzer Plus.” But I’m guessing you lifted the idea of killing a blob with an antacid from somewhere else?

    Anyhow, thanks for sharing. I’ll have to show this to my second grader. I keep trying to get him to write more and your 3rd grade book may inspire him to pick up his game a bit.

    1. I was looking at this and there is so much that informs my umm, “voice.” Even back then, I seemed to have a good bead on pop culture and product placement. If this book had been a best-seller, I could have made Matchbox cars a ton of money. That Flight Hunter toy was one of my faves. I only wish I had put a Shogun Warrior in this. Maybe a sequel. Love the fact that you want to share this with your son, I put it up through Scribd so ppl could download it. Please feel free to do so!

      1. The kids and I read it at bedtime last night. They liked it. I encouraged my son to try to work on a book of his own, especially this summer when he is out of school. I’ll use your 3rd grade book as a reference point to keep pushing him!

        By the way, I still have all my Shogun Warriors, although they are rather worse for wear. Did you lose yours in the tornado, or at some earlier point in time? I’m sure glad you didn’t lose this book in the tornado!

      2. That rocks! Whatever he creates, I will definitely want to see it. Between that and all of your journals, photos, and drawings, there is a lot to inspire him.

        I am so jealous that you still have your Shoguns…I think mine may have disappeared into the great ether before the tornado. I did pretty much lose a ton of the cool in that storm, for whatever reason this gem from my childhood hung on for dear life. I also have a Cro-Mags shirt that I bought in 1989. Who was on the committee that decided what I got to keep????

  2. This made me wonder: aren’t titles always fair game? There are definitely quite a few books called ‘Fair Game’ on Amazon…
    But that’s not really important. Awesome post. :)

    1. You do see that quite a bit, seems like it’s a bit harder to copyright, unless it’s a big IP. If my primary school opus was called “Game of Thrones”, I might be hearing from lawyers, heh.

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