Well, my mom said it was absolutely hubris for me to compare myself to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and my pooptok to Sherlock Holmes. But I think it’s in the same ballpark… We both had something for which we were famous (ahem, I am upto 47,000 followers, and honestly, I have never felt this validated about anything in my whole life, not even when my kids say they love me), but for which we didn’t want to be, and we both wanted to be serious authors, and I am wordy just like him.
This brings me to the title of this post. I have always been wordy, and writing in a diary has proved therapeutic, educational, and extremely useful. As such, I have decided to share a modified excerpt from the book on how I got started writing, and please don’t thank me. Hint: It wasn’t to make money.
“In second grade, I had pneumonia and was stuck at home for nearly a month, bored out of my wits. My dad brought me one of those typical Soviet ninety-six-page lined notebooks with a vinyl cover—“Write stuff down, entertain yourself!” And I did—and, I was a prolific writer, apparently, because, by age eleven, I had no less than five notebooks filled with doodles, exclamation points, and handwritten accounts of my life in cursive. There was also some fiction in those pages as well, including a full-length sci-fi fantasy novel! It had to do with a mission to a new planet. A space tiger attack happened, and someone even died. Quote from the book: ‘”The team removed their spacesuits, and, giggling and laughing, put on slippers getting ready to step into the alien’s home’. ” The space crew put on slippers!
But we had to leave most of them in the care of my grandmother, with the exception of my current diary, because what if the authorities thought these were national secrets we were smuggling out, and confiscated them? That’s what I thought, at least. I think in reality we just needed to conserve space.”
When time came to write this book, and also, the next book (which is almost finished, and I’ll be sharing details soon), don’t think I didn’t dig them out of storage.
I found this, written just before we left: “I said I was sorry, and he told me he’d forgive me if I kissed him! The nerve, can you believe it… So, I skipped last period and tried to go home early, but he caught me and asked if I plan to apologize. I almost died inside. I said, better if you kiss me! Then he and his friends got me and my friends with snowballs on the way home!! Those jerks…”
And this, on January 1st, 1990: “We had a party today and bought ice cream. CHOCOLATE! It came in a box!!!”
And this, in May of 1990: “Wheard. Weard. Weerd. Wheerd.” Multiple attempts to spell a new word.
Deciphering the scribbles and doodles opened up my eyes and helped me reach the recesses of memory I needed to access in order to create a world view from the eyelevel of an eleven year old refugee girl.