One of the first stories I ever wrote was about a haunted house. I’m afraid I need to qualify that statement with the fact that this story was written while I was still in grammar school.
By the way, I’m not sure why people call it “grade school” since every school has grades. To me, grammar school has always signified that period of time when learning how to read and write were still relatively new. The moment we step up into the higher grades we start focusing on more abstract thoughts. So! When I say grammar school I mean somewhere in the fifth or sixth grade.
Anyway, the story was terrible. The grammar was horrifying and my inability to fully understand how POV (Point of View) worked left me with a page full of chaotic voices. It was called Noises Next Door and it was written in pencil on a single subject notebook. And as awful as it was, I can point to it as one of the moments where I fell in love with writing.
I took all of my friends and put them through an adventure, investigating a strange house that — you guessed it — made noises at night and sat right next to the home of our hero … Which, sadly, was me. (Oh, come on. I was like ten when I wrote it. Give me a break.) But everyone had their part to play in this little story. I know I shoved my brother into a labyrinth with our cousin Peter.
Yes, yes. I went the parallel universe route with the house. But I did have a witch behind it all, so it was quasi-haunted. If you can make the leap that ghosts are actually remnants of a parallel universe trying to call for help. (Again, I was ten. I threw everything under the explanation of magic back then. No rules. Just big, unfathomable magic.)
I did write it during the month of October and ever since then Fall has been my time of particular inspiration. From October through December there is something in the air that spurs my muse into writing. Maybe it’s the colors, or the changing of seasons, I don’t know, but I get excited in the middle of September when I see it coming. Even over the last year and a half, as my plate has been full with school, I have had to keep 3×5 cards close by to record ideas and thoughts that hit me during these months.
This week instead of new ideas I was reminded of that first story about a haunted house and a witch. I couldn’t help smiling, remembering the excitement and my maladroit attempts at plotting. It really was terrible, but it started me on a path that would forever shape my life.