Though I always say I started writing when I was ten, upon sober thought (not the best kind, but often righter than the other kind) I actuallly started when I was seven, the summer that my family exiled me to Stalag Summer Camp. Which is how I thought of it.
I hated summer camp. Granted, it wasn’t a well-run camp. The adolescent counsellors had more interest in each other and the nightly boozy smoochie parties they had in their quarters.
And the lake, which had looked so inviting to the parents, was actually sectioned off so that the campers only swam in the narrow, crowded “crib” – a horrid, slimy bottomed and doubtless pee pee filled “learners” swim premises. And apart from making lanyards, and scratching poison ivy, the biggest event of the season was Color War, in which the camp was divided into Red and Bue and proceeded to compete, chant against and hate each other on the basis of arbitrary color for the rest of the season.
So I ran away – in my head. I took a notebook and filled it with a novel about a girl who was sent to camp and ran away and went to live with charming and amusing ‘hillbillies” who loved her for all her charm, brightness and interesting innovations.
I also had heart wrenching segue-ways every chapter or two, showing her parents and sibs grieving, regetting every bad thing they’d ever done to our heroine.
When I ran out of words, I illustrated. It was wonderful.
The book was lost in a move a few years later. But looking back, it was the most satisfactory escape I ever experienced.
No wonder I became a novelist. (And next time I’ll tell how I went from zero to published!)
Imagination is the best revenge. And putting it down on paper makes it realer.
Have you ever tried it?