Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

When I learned that Publishing Syndicate planned a book for its new anthology series, Not Your Mother's Book, called On Being a Stupid Kid, I struggled to hit on something that I could contribute. I'd been a sensible kid in many respects...didn't play hookey until high school, and then, only once. Didn't smoke until high school. Didn't stay out past curfew until high school. My really dumb and rebellious misdemeanors I'd committed in my late teens, as I edged from adolescence into young adulthood...too old and too big to be considered a kid.

And I'd already published several stories about my earlier years...being adopted, seeing my birth mom for the last time, saving the family home from burning what was there left to write about? The stories had to be fudging on that. I thought of a lot of stupid acts I'd witnessed, but I couldn't claim them as my own when they really were committed by my sister, my brother or my cousins.

Then I remembered junior high! Oh, yes. I'd innocently accompanied a master shoplifter on a tour of department stores, and had been fingered, if only momentarily, as a perpetrator. I'd lined up at a party with a passel of other eighth-grade girls for a chance to kiss Billy Jeffers. We'd wearied of Spin the Bottle, so just asked Billy to sit on a stool in the closet and let us take turns. None of us wanted to kiss any of the other boys.

I'd thought about my babysitting adventures, and how I'd read my employer's racy books...Forever Amber was the first bodice-ripping historical romance I'd ever zipped through...and the last. Not quite enough material there for an entire story.

Then, instead of honing in on incidents, I started to recall certain friendships, and how much making friends meant to me. I remember some of the other kids who were struggling along with me to make sense of our newly pubescent selves. And the story ideas started to flow.

Two of my stories, "Why Did Cynthia Slap Me?" and "Fevers" have been accepted for this book. I've changed some names to protect the guilty, as well as the innocent. Both stories involve teachers, as well as my fellow students. I can't really put faces on these two particular teachers. I only remember that both had certain classroom rules. And both my stories involve how I violated those rules.

These days I claim to be a law-abiding citizen. Well, I did file my automobile registration three days late this past month. But aside from that infraction, I can't recall any recent outlaw behavior. But in junior high? I erred at least twice, and that's not counting chewing gum and throwing spitballs. Blush.

Fortunately, I've read all the other stories in this book, as I proofread it for Publishing Syndicate. It's comforting to learn I wasn't the only youthful law-flouter. Grab this book when it comes out on November 6, and you'll see just what a bunch of desperadoes so many of us were, back when we were stupid kids!

The book will be available for pre-order soon on Amazon. You're not going to want to miss this one!

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