It got me to thinking a lot about childhood friends, one in particular. I’ll call her Penny. I hadn’t thought about her in a long time, as our paths haven’t crossed in years. But, because I was nostalgic, and because of where I’m at in life right now, a memory surfaced that I didn’t even know was there.
I guess we had to be in junior high school (aka middle school to most people outside of the 5 NYC boroughs). I was making my first attempt at a full length “book”. I remember the actual book I was writing in so clearly. It was a black and white composition notebook with doodles all over the cover. The writing inside was bubbly tween-girl handwriting, nothing like the chicken scratch, script-print combo I have now.
The story was about twin sisters – one good, one bad, of course. I can’t say I remember any details about what I’m sure was a very deep plot ;). Except for the fact that, since they were twins, there was naturally some kind of swapping-places thing going on. But what I do remember is this. At first I didn’t show it to anyone, because I was too nervous. But Penny knew what I was doing and asked to see it. Since she was my best friend, and what 12 year old girl can refuse her best friend, I reluctantly let her look at what I’d written so far.
She devoured it. Not only that, she told me she couldn’t wait for the next chapter, and asked if I would sit down and write it at that moment, instead of continuing the game we were playing. This went on for weeks that summer. I’d write a few pages, Penny would read them as soon as the words were on the page and enthusiastically ask for more.
To this day, I have no idea if Penny really enjoyed what I’d written as much as she said she did, or if it was terrible and she was just being a great, supportive friend. Either way, I can still remember how much she inspired me. I started writing because I loved it, but I kept writing because of her.
The topic of inspiration comes up a lot. And normally, I’m guess I’m short-sighted. I think about the things that inspire me now. Maybe, in fact, I should be thinking about the things that inspired me way back when.
I don’t think I ever ended up finishing that story. Summer ended and I probably moved on to the next thing, whatever that was. But I’ve kept most of the notebooks I used to write in and I bet if I dig around in my basement, I can find it. Maybe one day I’ll look for it. And maybe one day I’ll have an ending to Penny’s story.