Sunday, November 07, 2010

You've Come A Long Way Baby

I came across my first collaborative writing effort that I completed in the fifth grade on my dad's super-groovy Tandy, a wish-fulfillment fantasy of yearbook camp that I completed with my friend K (not his real initial -- okay, maybe his real initial). We sat in the garage office in my parents' house surrounded by pictures of New Zealand warriors with bones through their noses and a bookcase filled with tomes about diet, changing your life, and serial killers. My mother had truly eclectic tastes -- my dad stuck to aviation magazines which he secretly ordered when my mother wasn't watching. For some men, their secret life is pornography; for daddy, it was Aviation Today. K and I managed to produce almost fifteen pages of our dream world (junior high would be so much better than middle school -- wrong!) and like all writers, managed to vilify those people we didn't like. We also gave girlfriends to all the gay boys (the clue -- most of the romantic scenes included such lines as "I just finished The Razor's Edge and was dreaming of you . . . also there were a lot of OMD and Wham references). We included copious footnotes such as what a BA meeting was (Bitch's Anonymous) and any obscure Bible references (we loved those -- our one restaurant scene was set at a place called Job's). Heady stuff for eleven year olds, to be sure, but we weren't daunted. We even managed a Joan Rivers reference (one of the characters does impersonations of her).

I've never written anything with anyone since that fateful week locked in a small room. K and I fought over the details and plot points (must we have the reference to the Star Trek convention again? Does it add to character development?) and also my tendency to confuse the save and delete buttons. It wasn't pretty, but at the end, we had our product, printed our a dot-matrix printer in courier. We wanted a better font, our own font like Woody Allen has, but we never made it to that point. We were lucky to have graduated from the scratch and sniff sticker books that had dominated our third and fourth grade lives. I wince a the purple prose from those long ago days (Nothing could soothe the pain, nothing!) and marvel at the amount of sexual jargon and curse words we used freely. My favorite detail -- a character so dull that she collects algebraic expressions from around the world. We ended with a nod to the future, hope that it would all turn out like we wrote it. It didn't, of course. Nothing does. Even so, there's evidence of a collective wish, the most shopworn one there is -- that everything will be wonderful fun, even if we never did see the fire escape of which we dreamed.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare." Mark Twain

Cocktail Hour
Any good movie recommendations? I'm still reeling from Secretariat. Spoiler alert --the pony wins!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday!


Jason said...

Thanks for never pushing that on your students.

JR's Thumbprints said...

We all have our "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark," it's just that some are never brought into the light. How about posting a sample of this collaborative effort?

G said...


The closest I came to a collaborative effort like that was when I was back in high skool hanging out with a super genius some several years younger than myself.

Anyways, we wound up composing a parody to the Schoolhouse Rock song "The Shot Heard 'Round The World" called "The Shot Heard 'Round The World Won The Pennant For The Giants".

Pretty bad, but it was all in good fun.

Charles Gramlich said...

A few friends in high school and I worked on a horror tale for our folklore class. I still wish I had the tape we made. We had a great time with it.

Scott said...


I've never collaborated on a written project with anyone..yet. Maybe it's time to try it.

As far as films go, ahve you seen 'Up In The Air'? I actually liked it. More along my usual lines, I liked 'Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl', 'I Sell The Dead', and 'Frontiers'.

Hope you have a good week, Darlin'! :)