When I was in elementary school, I was convinced I was going to become a published author. Not later in life, but right then. Lucky for me, my best friend promised to pass along my work to his step-mom, who happened to be a publisher. He told me she would definitely publish me. Surprisingly he didn't follow through, or he did, but my 3-page-long descriptions of different hotel lobbies weren't visceral enough to justify a book deal.
I was lucky enough to have teachers who fostered my passion for writing, despite how obnoxious I was. I recently looked at my third grade class' anthology book, which features stories from every student in the class, and my writing takes up 2/3 of the book. I believed in quantity over quality, often touting my goal for the year of either be published or writing a 100-page book—equivalent accomplishments in my eyes. I'm proud(?) to say I filled up a 100-page composition notebook that year, the print progressively bigger on each page.
In the anthology book, I submitted 7 stories, one of which was 31 pages single-spaced (that my mom paid my sister to type for me) about an elderly couple who walks from Chicago to California. You don't have to know much about the story, except that it ends with the husband dying, the wife's friend saying "At least you don't have to share a bed anymore" and then the wife dying from loneliness.
I never found success publishing my work, so I thought I'd share the first chapter of one of my third grade masterpieces, complete with author commentary in italics.
Modeling Isn't the Best
By Lindsay Lucido
Melonie Wishes to be a Model
As Melonie, a nine year old girl looked through a model magazine she wished she could be a model. She put it down and went over to her mirror to see how pretty she was. She did a twirl and sat back on her bed and sighed. "If only I could be a model," she said under her breath. Her mom called up to her, "Come on Melonie honey. It's time for dinner."
She ran downstairs. As her dad walked in he asked what they had been doing that day with out him. It was a Saturday and Melonie's dad was at his best friend's house watching a football game. Love the stereotypes I was perpetuating. My dad didn't even watch sports, so I really used TV tropes on this one. Also, is football even on Saturdays? "What have you been doing all this time?"
Melonie stuttered, "J-just the same old stuff."
"What kind of stuff?"
Then Melonie closed her eyes and said really fast, "I was seeing if I was pretty enough to be a model." She's under no legal obligation to tell her parents what she's been doing. You know what would've been an acceptable answer? Reading. Or drawing. Or literally anything else.
"My little baby is growing up," she said, coming closer to her ready to give her a hug.
"Mom?" she asked.
"If I'm growing up, let's stop the hugs and kisses."
"Ok," she said backing away. "Why didn't you tell me this before?" Oh, Melonie's mother is asking her why she didn't mention that she no longer wanted to hug and kiss. How sweet.
"Because I had a feeling that you would say models were nothing but a piece of junk and ruin my modeling career." JK! Turns out they completely forgot about the growing up conversation and went right back to talking about modeling.
"No I wouldn't."
"Then, what would you say?"
"I wouldn't have said anything but I would have showed you an ad in the newspaper that said that you could be a kid model ages 15 and under. A famous model, I think her name is Junien Sezlsher is going to be there! Do you even know who Junien Sezlsher is?"
"Ya, a famous model!"
"That's not what I meant! She's only the prettiest and nicest model on Earth!"
"Sign me up!" she screamed. If I'm being perfectly honest, I have no idea who's talking. I can't tell if Melonie is a huge fan of Junien Sezlsher, or if her mother is. Who's trying to become a model here?
She went around the house screaming. The doorbell rang. Melanie misspelled? thought that it was someone famous. You know how famous people just show up at your house... She opened the door surprised to see the next-door neighbors complaining about how loud Melonie was. Melonie's parents had to put tape over Melonie's mouth. She couldn't even eat! But her parents asked her questions anyway. Kind of concerning that my teacher didn't pull me aside after school to ask if things were okay at home. The phone rang. Melonie took the tape off of her mouth and answered. "Hello, this is Junien Sezlsher." How did Junien find out about this random nine year old only moments after Melonie decided she wanted to model??? Melonie screamed, "W-W-What do you want with an innocent girl my age?"
"My crew is asking kids about nine years old to be models." I'm starting to think this Junien Sezlsher has a bit of an obsession with the personal information of random children.
Melonie screamed again, "I'll come at 7:20." Exact times were a crucial part of my stories. But apparently that was the only detail that mattered, because I provide no explanation for how Junien found this girl.
To be continued...
Wow, what a great first chapter. I'm sure you're itching to read the second. I wanted to spare you chapters 2, 3, and 4 until you've had time to process the first one, so those will come later.
If you take anything away from this story, it should be: Modeling isn't the best.
And also: Children should be endlessly supported and given creative freedom, except for nine-year-old me. Someone should've shut her up.