Posted by: jeannineatkins | May 20, 2008

Close your Eyes…

…and remember when you used to hide under a castle of overgrown forsythia bushes or by some tiny brook you called a great river or maybe crawl under a porch?
Remember when you loved escaping into daydreams, when your favorite place was your imagination? Maybe you hid in a secret garden, a grove in the forest, the attic, a corner of a back lot, your bedroom – anywhere away from grownups who seemed intent on foisting their words on you when you wanted to make up your own.

Now we’re the ones with bills to pay and stuff to mail and nags to nag.

Yesterday husband asked if I wrote as a kid.
–Yes, parts of plays, unfinished stories, poems.
–Did you save any?
–That’s too bad. You could put some on your blog.
It’s not really so sad. I think I was the one who cleaned out the old bureau’s bottom drawer of papers and drawings, and I think the words themselves weren’t of much interest. Some seemed, while not plagiarized – of course not! – pretty derivative. Rhyme schemes borrowed from Robert Louis Stevenson, characters swiped from Maurice Sendak or The Borrowers.
What I liked was the girl who wrote them
sometimes hidden away under bushes or on a rock or in a tree
unfraid of silence, happy with her own words, no matter
who else saw or heard them.

And that girl is not entirely gone.



  1. is not entirely gone.
    Great post.
    Your part about looking back at older work made me think recently about a high school reunion I went where some one brought a “get-well” card I rendered for his recuperation from a motorcycle accident.
    I smiled on the outside as I cringed on the inside seeing the things I lifted from MAD magazine and my shading technique and line quality was certainly in it’s infancy.
    But the receiver of the card loved it! And his pleasure brought me pleasure.

  2. smile on the outside, cringe on the inside
    Yes, that’s the friend and the self-critical artist. I have so been there.
    It’s cool that they could not only remember the card but put their hands on it and remember to bring it along. (I’m in awe of memory these days.) And that it brought pleasure not only at the time but years later.

  3. You knew me! Great post!

  4. I’m so glad she is not gone.
    You are such a beautiful writer. Oh my.

  5. This post made me smile. 🙂

  6. I totally hid out. And I totally got rid of all my childhood writings, although as it turned out, my mom kept a few of them. And I really enjoy seeing them.

  7. I do have some of my old stuff, but it’ll probably only ever come out at a school talk, to show that I did start writing at the same age those kids did… 🙂
    My favorite vacation moment was the time in Missouri, when my parents decided I was old enough to stay at the cabin/lodge place by myself, while everybody else went out and inner-tubed down a river (we’d just canoe’d it the day before, for pete’s sake!).
    I lay on my bed, with the open window next to me and the beautiful green plants and grass and the humid sky, and I was in heaven. (I was also reading one of Terry Brook’s Shannara books, which was long enough to keep me in that state for the duration!)

  8. It would have been fun to have you in the neighborhood, though I suppose we might have fought about who got to be Jo March.

  9. Thanks for all your x’s and o’s, Jo. They mean a lot.Back to you!

  10. Well, good! Even if it’s not getting to imagine a boy beau turning into a bear…

  11. Yay for doting, saving moms. Of course I’ve ferretted away some of my daughter’s masterpieces.

  12. I’d have been with you. Water is good, but what’s a vacation without getting lost in a book?

  13. You made me smile!!!

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