Today, going through a box labeled “Papers,” I stumbled upon a notebook from 1998 wherein I wrote four stories. I was 8 years old. Although barely legible, I managed to read through them and remark on what an incredibly depressive, demented child I was. Here they are, verbatim, spelling and grammar errors included.
My handwriting and narrative skills haven’t improved much since then.
“Many Fearful Things”
Martin Louise was a very carful nerd. His best friend was Luke Furdaman. He sat next to the teacher in the classroom. Because he was a teachers pet and bullies always beat him up. Martin was also afraid of spiders, the dark, hights, elevators, climbing, jumping dogs, the dentist, the doctor, his dad, and his grandparents, sometimes the only person he could trust was Luke. He wished one day he would not be a nerd and he wouldnt be so easily afraid. One winter day there was an avelanch where he lived and the only way to get to the grocery store was by foot so his dad (which he was so afraid of) told him to go get some milk and eggs. In witch to get there was through the dark forest (in wicth he was also afraid of. so he went to the path in the woods. About half way he herd a noise it was a arf, arf, arf like a woonded dog. Well he didn’t know what it sounded like because he was afaid of pets even goldfish. So he fainted to the ground. That sound was the aliens landing. They found Martin and took him in their ship to do experementations on. he woke up in a fuzzy white place and he fainted again. Next time he woke up he found himself breathing in gel in stead of air. He found his body all bloody on a table. he finally relized his head was cut off. Soon he died. After word to his school, his town, and his family. What happened to Martin Louise? And everyone live happely ever after (besides Martin). The end.
Commentary: Obviously Martin is a symbol of my childhood self, although it’s interesting that he’s a boy. I was afraid of all the things Martin was afraid of except for my grandparents. I had no Luke equivalent in my life, though. It seems like this whole story is more of an ideal of what I wanted my life to be like: I had a friend I could trust, I was a boy (although gender has always been irrelevant to me, even at that age… maybe I was just trying to make sure no one read it and thought I was referring to myself), and instead of ever having to face my fears, I dropped off the face of the planet instead in a violent, mysterious death and everyone promptly forgot about me and “lived happily ever after” because of it.
“The Jungle Ghost”
In africa there lived a 12 year old boy named Lou-Lou. One day he went to the jungle to hunt for food. There had been Legends of an evil ghost living in the jungle. Noone had ever seen him befor nor heard him. Well the Legend was, one day Friday 13 there was a flood and this one person was tring to stop it later everone dround but that person climbind a very very tall tree. He wasn’t thinking when he got up there because he couldn’t get down he fell off the tree and died. Lou-Lou found an animal up in that tree he didn’t understand the story so he climbed that tree and the ghost awoke he tried to worn Lou-Lou but he fell and died. His spirit floted off he saw the ghost. He flew as fast as he could because he was frightend but the other ghost caut him and took him to his little cabin. It turned out the ghost was nice. He gave Lou-Lou some tea. Days went by and Lou-Lou still didn’t know he was a ghost and the other ghost never talked for his tung had been cut off. The town however never had a flood again. The Legend of the ghost was never herd again either. The end.
Commentary: Again, seeing a theme of the death of the main character as a benefit to his loved ones via a violent and unexpected death. Another parallel theme is the idea that the harbingers of death are unable to communicate with the main character. Of course, I couldn’t have thought of something happy, like the ghost didn’t speak Lou-Lou’s language or maybe ghosts just don’t talk, but that the ghost’s tongue had been cut out.
“The Ghost of the House”
One nice day Sherrel woke up and had breckfast. She didn’t feel well because she knew it would be a bad day because her mom promised to make some banana bred for her girlscout group but she knew it was alright because she could turn it in any time of the week and her hair cut she got was horrible. She wanted to stay home. So she asked her mom if she could stay home but she didn’t have a fever and her mom let her stay home anyway. Her mom and dad left for work and she was left home. Since she was feeling bad She took a nap. When she woke up again she started wathing t.v. She went to the refrigerator to get some milk. She didn’t see the ghost so when she opened the door she Hit the ghost guy. Then the ghost tried to kill her while she was watching T.V. but her hair cut was so bad he ran away from her. He tried one more time he snuk up behind the couch and choked her to death, that was his plan anyway. So he tried it, well it sort of worked because for some reson she had already died for she had also been a ghost! Was the ghost alive or not he was so confused he went back to his grave. But what happened to their parents? They were died also so they went back to the grave. Afterwards the house was a green pile of dust. The end.
Commentary: This one was less sad and more hilarious, but still pretty dark. In this one, there’s no great defeat of the main character, just the acceptance that she’d already been overcome by life but was still living in her own personal hell. It’s also very sad that her “hair cut was so bad” that the ghost ran away because the hair cut is definitely a symbol of my entire childhood self-perception. I have no explanation for the “green pile of dust.” Also note that I could spell the word “refrigerator” correctly without spell check at 8 years old but I have to fix it about three times every time I type it at age 23.
“Santa vs. Reeper”
One night probably Cristmas, Santa went down the chimney of the South’s meanwhile the grim reeper was about to chop of the dogs head but then he heard somthing coming from the chimney he went to the fire place and turned it on but as you know santa comes from the Northpole so he was still cold and by the time he was half way through the chimney the fire stoped.
Commentary: This one isn’t complete and the notebook’s contents end here. Based on the three prior stories, I think we can surmise that not only will the child main character have gotten killed after being introduced, but Santa would have probably died too. Again, the constant iteration that everything succumbs to death, even Santa.
I honestly don’t know how I’m a functional adult. I’ve taken enough developmental psych classes to know that this kind of writing by an 8 year old is grossly abnormal and who knows what kind of medication they would have put me on if my parents had found all these little pieces of paper with my chicken scratch on them detailing my desire to die. The weird thing about all of this is that my childhood wasn’t bad at all. I had great parents, a roof over my head, I never went hungry, yet my mind was so haunted by intense anxiety of every possible little thing that every moment was torture. I was too smart for my age. I saw the world, saw life, for what it was, but I still had a child’s mind so in coping with the understanding that we all die yet we’re born into incessant suffering, I developed intense anxiety.
Today I still battle with the little 8 year old voice in my head telling me that my death would have a positive impact on society and that I bring nothing of value to anyone, so I should just stay in bed waiting for an unforeseen force to do me in. Luckily, the 23 year old voice tends to fight back and try to prove that I’m not worthless, that I can face my fears every day and be successful in doing so. I wish I could go back 15 years and talk to myself, tell me that everything is going to be okay, and if it isn’t, that’s okay too, because I (we) are capable of controlling what we do and what happens in our life. Then again, maybe being trapped in a mind filled with fear for so long developed the character I have now.