Eight-Year-Old Self Writes A Story

Good stories should have the things you like in them: the glittery, jewel-toned things otherwise unattainable.

Eight-Year-Old Self Writes A Story
Photo by Drew Perales / Unsplash

by J.L. Morren

This is how you write a story: first you learn how to spell the words, but I've pretty much got that whole thing down, because I have seen a lot of them. Maybe ones you might not even know. Like astonished, and garunteed guaranteed. Saddlebags. Henchman. I think I know what I am doing. 

Good stories should have the things you like in them: the glittery, jewel-toned things otherwise unattainable. To start, the main character must be an interesting person you might want to be, someone who you are not. For example, mine here is probably orphaned, because that happens quite a lot to main characters. And that's kind of a downer, but at least she is a clever girl, and she has glasses, and freckles on her nose, and she can ride a horse and has all the weapons (and I will let you know in parentheses that she has them). And that is already so much better than me, because I am not orphaned and do not have glasses or freckles on my nose or ride a horse and I do not have all the weapons, even if I do think I am a clever girl. 

There are probably like 20 other people in the story who don't matter, but here are all their names, too, because God at least names all of his characters. Even if their names are ones all stolen from dying musty paperbacks, like Matilda or Adeline or Mary-Josephine. Those are just the kind of names I am reading right now, scraps from the library donations. I don't know anyone with any of those names. If I were writing about anyone here, they'd know! But for now I give people names like Ramona, or Alice, a parade of old-lady-sounding things to be called. 

And then I will write all of the things they did, in similarly structured sentences. "Hi!" they all said. She rode a skateboard. She was a widow. He had a tiring life. And I will specify the numbers and things that are very important: that they walked 36,000 steps in three hours, that the book was 100 years old, that this story will take place on Saturday, the 5th of August, 2006. I will let you know how old everyone was, and how twins and triplets always run in the family. I will let you know that the walls and floor were scrap fabric and ripped dresses. That the golden ladder in the garden was made of plastic. That the whole army's messenger bags were covered in mud. 

And there will be a fancy scene where they all change outfits, and I will tell you what color of the rainbow everyone's outfit was, like plum, or emerald, or tangerine, and everyone gets their own color, just to be distinguishable. They trade in their old ugly sweaters for plaid silk gowns, rhinestone miniskirts, pajamas in sheer lace. The hair of everyone is already tousled and frizzed, and a lot of them wear gloves with no fingers. They all dance and it's horrendous. 

And then suddenly they will all have to stop and solve the nonsensical riddle on its own separate page, and you will too, for immersion's sake. I will write at the top that it is "No. 37" but there were not 36 of them before. It baffles everyone. The answer is upside-down at the bottom. I will draw it dull in the margins with a chewed Ticonderoga. 

And on the 9th day, before the witch can eat the horses, before the talking mouse dies a tragic death, look, I have the power to stop it. I just write in large letters: Cont. Later. Now it won't ever end. Isn't that fun? I'll make a living someday if I keep it up. I've pretty much got that whole thing down, you know— how you write a story.

J.L. Morren is a writer and artist from western Michigan, currently studying at Calvin University and finishing her degree in Writing. Her poetry and prose has previously appeared in Orangepeel Literary Magazine, Londemere Lit, and Dialogue Creative Journal. Find her on Instagram and Twitter @jlmorren.