Posts from Memory Lane: An Excerpt from "Flames"

Thursday, May 2, 2013

These posts were written during the summer while I was in Bangladesh, in preparation for the upcoming academic year. Long story short: when I looked back at the archive, I didn't have the desire  or the time to put them up. But now, since I'm coming back to the blog, I decided that some of them aren't half bad. Read on!

"Long ago, in the sky just below the heavens, there were three flames. The flame of light, the flame of knowledge, and the flame of darkness. These flames were constantly competing, everyday light, knowledge, and darkness had a race. Light was the fastest and for half the day she would always beat darkness but when she got tired darkness overtook her for half the day. Knowledge was the slowest of the three and she would always think of a way to beat her sisters. She filled the minds of all the people on a planet she named Earth. This gave her the energy to beat her sisters for at least a bit of the time. They would constantly run and sometimes they even left their bodies to converse in their minds."

Long ago, in a house in Bellevue, Washington, there was a girl who wrote stories...

This is the first paragraph of a novel* that I wrote when I was 12 years old. It's in a document shelved in my computer files waiting for me to revive it in just such a fashion (see, my collecting brain does sometimes turn out to be, if not useful, then at least heartwarming!). It's about 18,500 words and its all about the story of a fight between the three "flames" introduced here and their attempt to keep the earth from destroying itself.

I always look back and think "wow, I was writing for all this time? I wrote all of those words when I was that young?" But then I realize I'm shortchanging young people, including my own young self. They can have amazing ideas and infinite time to execute them. We as older people just need to be encouraging of that. Not to pump myself up too much, but I feel like I've been writing all my life and have learned a lot from those early pieces.

There's one big thing that this piece teaches that's not about social commentary. It's about honesty. And mistakes. It's not beautiful writing up there, and sometimes it makes me cringe to read through parts of it. Nevertheless, I am addicted. In part because it's young me trying to communicate herself to the world. And in part because it's so straight up honest. That's something that I have tried very hard to pursue in my later writing - now crowded with all these ideas about form and style and theme. NaNoWriMo really helps me with that; it pushes me to put it all down on the page first. Because what does it matter if there are tons of mistakes and it doesn't sound good? It is the world inside my brain and I'm going to describe it for you, whether you like it or not.

After all, knowledge did win out.

*I say novel because I remember clearly thinking that this was long enough for a story to enter into novel territory - but if we're going on length, it's clearly not quite there yet, haha.