“Turn your pagers to 1993”
– The Notorious B.I.G.
I recently found an entire box of my old notebooks in my basement. After reading through a few of them, I began to notice how differently my writing style and general interests have changed over time. Looking through my old writings I realized that I had become so far removed from some of the versions of me that it was like reading through a stranger’s thoughts.
The oldest book in the collection was from when I was about nine or so. The writing was atrocious and almost everything written was a blatant rip-off of something else. As I read the “stories” I had written, I could easily identify which summer blockbusters and horror novels I had stolen the plots from.
The second notebook that I read through was from around the time I was thirteen. It still wasn’t very good, but it was an improvement. The highlight of this was a massive hand written rough draft for my version of Red Alert 3 (at the time a third game hadn’t even been announced).
Surprisingly my ideas were actually pretty unique. While I still “borrowed” concepts from other games and movies, most of what I wrote was original. The difference between this notebook and the earlier one were night and day. Although I was by no stretch of the imagination a good writer, I was infinitely better than I had been.
The other two notebooks that I found were from high school. Both were incredibly inconsistent, at one point I wrote a bunch of lousy poetry, but still had some gems. There was a pretty campy story about a toxic fungus inhabiting marijuana buds that caused people to in die gruesome manners. It was like reading a cross between something concocted by Lloyd Kaufman and David Cronenberg. There was also a pretty good half finished detective story set in a retro-futuristic setting.
Reading through my old notebooks also reminded me of something I had long since forgotten. At each stage of my writing, I had believed I’d reached my crescendo. When I was nine I thought I’d become best-selling author of books that were essentially Stephan King knock-offs. At thirteen I imagined myself penning all the flagship titles for a major game developer. At sixteen I thought I was the next Michael Chabon.
Within the next three years I doubt I’ll still be writing Thirty Days To X. As much as I love creating new posts and doing monthly challenges, I’ll eventually outgrow it. And, quite frankly, that thought kind of excites me. I’m looking forward to the future and what I write in it.