Elle lived and breathed the French culture for three years in the peaceful haven of Normandy, before returning to the wild west of Los Angeles, then the woods of Portland, Oregon, as the ex Ex-Pat That Could. When thinking about how to describe herself as a writer, she realized she already has in her first blog post. If you don’t care to scroll all the way back to the beginning, it’s been cut and pasted here. Enjoy!
(Originally published January 2015)
I’ve been a writer without knowing it since I was a kid. As soon as I was old enough to have a diary, I would journal about my day (“Abby the dog followed me around for 30 minutes today. Then Kitty sat next to me for 10.” — In my defense, no one is profound at 7 years old. If they are, they’re ghostwritten.) Then when I became a voracious reader around age 8, I started writing very short stories, around three pages long in my progressively more adult journals. Then at age 9, I got on Prodigy, the O.G. America Online (AOL) community.
And pretended to be over the age of 18 to contribute stories to a communal work of fiction, Prodigy High School.
There was a Forum section of Prodigy for discussion threads and one was devoted to its fictitious high school world. Users would post intros to their characters (<New girl: Shaunna’s first day>) then other users would reply to the thread with their own characters interacting with the initial subject’s characters (<4th Period: Calculus>). This world was better than the MTV my parents so desperately sought to hide from me, in that I learned ALL. KINDS. OF STUFF. I was actually a pretty popular writer. My characters saw a lot of (inter)action but any time some jock got a little too virtually friendly (“He stroked Carrie’s thigh and moved in for the kiss. Then she–“), I did an about-face and replied with a surly homey-don’t-play-that. As a blushing child, I rarely sneaked a peek at the threads labeled ‘explicit content’ but I also didn’t want anyone to know that I was underage (of puberty). So I posted a thread detailing the excruciatingly difficult decision that my character, high school sophomore, Maya made to have an abortion.
I did my best to research the details of an abortion (circa 1994 when Clinton had made then-waves with his politics) but couldn’t get past the parental blocks on the rinky-dink (state of the art circa 1994) computer. Suffice it to say, I focused on the emotions of the moment instead.
And realized I should be a writer.