Early Lessons in Writing

Emily circa 1988

Dear Diary,

I am eight, and already I am a prolific writer. Just today, I wrote “Ryan is a fucker” in cerulean blue on a piece of paper. My teacher just raves about my penmanship. I’m bored with writing though, so I’m going to stuff my crayons and papers back in the art drawer in the kitchen.

Big Em


“Ryan! Emily! It’s time for dinner.”

“Yes! I’m starving. What are we having, Mom?”

“Pot roast. Here, put these on the table.”

“Pot roast? Aww, man.” I set the table.

We sat down to dinner, each in our respective chairs. I drank my milk and willed the mushy carrots to go away. In the background, Peter Jennings talked about Hurricane Gilbert. I pushed my carrots around until they got cold. Then, of course, they were even more disgusting.

“Can we get a dog?” I asked.


Reluctantly, I finished dinner. Then I made a move to leave the table, grabbing my plate, glass, and silverware. Mom motioned for me to sit back down. “Your Dad and I need to talk to you.”

I knew it was bad before it got bad. Mom looked angry, and Dad looked disappointed. But then Mom pulled out my writing and set it on the dining room table in front of me. I smiled. It was awesome. My Rs were absolutely breathtaking. I waited for the praise.

“Emily, we are so disappointed in you. I don’t know how you can write that about your brother. How do you think Ryan would feel about this? He would probably be very sad and hurt. The Bible teaches us we should be nice and care about other people.”

The burden of my parents’ guilt became heavier and heavier. I sunk into my chair, and hung my head in shame. I stared at the scar on my right knee while the lesson continued. My chin started to quiver.

“Are you sorry?” It wasn’t so much a question as an invitation to beg for forgiveness.

“Yes, I’m sorry,” I sniffed. “I promise I won’t do it again.”


Dear Diary,

I am never writing anything again.

Big Em

P.S. What does fucker mean?


Mama’s Losin’ It This entry is part of Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop. It is a response to the prompt, “Write a post about a childhood memory as if you’re in that moment again…from the perspective of yourself as that child.”

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Photo credit: andrewb


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