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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blast from the Past

I had another post lined up for today, but I got a call from my sister and laughed so hard I decided to change it up.

My sister is moving in a few weeks so she is going through everything deciding what to keep, what to toss, and what to sell. She ran into a box of letters I'd written to her my senior year of high school out in Vegas. 






I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.  It was fantastic!  She's going to send them to me so I can share. 

What's strange though, is that I have NO MEMORY of most of the people or incidents I mentioned.  I would deny that I ever wrote it...except it is MOST DEFINITELY my voice.

Hearing my voice from 20 years ago was surreal. The fact that it was so obviously me was reassuring (and highly amusing). 

Hearing me talk about my mom--OMG, I sound JUST like my daughter.  She's going to die reading these.

I talked about signs last week.  And I think these letters are my sign. I'm writing the wrong book. I've suspected as much but 50,000 words in isn't the greatest time to accept that epiphany. I like the story line.  I'll finish it.  Might even query it.  But it's not what I'm supposed to be writing.

It is not in my voice.

My voice is yesterday's underwear post.  It's light, laced with humor.  But there's not a lot of room for either of those in the story I'm trying to tell. 

The other thing I learned is that I have a habit (in my letters) of detailing what every member in the family is doing at THAT moment.  Kinda boring at the time, but 10 - 20 years later, it's a mini time capsule and it's so cool!

So, do you think you would recognize a letter you wrote twenty years ago?  Would you laugh or cringe?  Both?

EDITED TO ADD:  I can't believe I forgot to put this in here!  I got Mortified by David Nadleberg awhile back for my daughter.  REAL excerpts from people's journals and diaries as teens.  Hysterical.  I guess it was also a stage show with people getting up on stage to read their show every night. 


Creepy Query Girl said...

Finish your book and start the one you feel your supposed to be writing. But keep in mind that your voice can have many different facets and has the right to change for different projects. My two books are written in COMPLETELY different voices. Multiple personalities? Possibly...

KarenG said...

I would cringe, in fact I have when I read back on my journals from college. Once I read out loud from them to my kids who were the same age as I was when I wrote them and we were laughing so hard. How wonderful that you wrote the letters & that your sister saved them!

Lenny said...

hi miss vicki! i dont have any letter from that long ago cause i didnt even live that long yet. haha. i think its neat that your sister saved those letters and you guys could get a good laugh from them now. i like what creepy said cause you could have a lot of voices for what you write. its best to just write and when you get started whatever voice is supposed to be there will just start talking.
...hugs from lenny

Mason Canyon said...

It would be interesting to remember what I was thinking and doing 20 years ago since I can't seem to remember last week too well lately. LOL I believe there are signs and it does sound like you've found yours. One of my favorite sayings is that things happen for a reason. Good luck with your current WIP and the new work you begin (you are beginning one right).

Thoughts in Progress

Matthew Rush said...

This is awesome. I've had a similar experience and it is strange but wonderful. I too agree with Katie (Creepy).

Wendy Ramer said...

I recently reread my 3 journals written during my yeras living in Spain (24-25 years old), and what I find is an immature version of the voice I use today. We really are so different in our 20s than in our 30s and then 40s. My point is that our voice is always changing and growing with us.

Candyland said...

I keep journals from when I was 16 and surprisingly, they sound exactly like me now,lol. I must have been just as cynical as a sophomore!

Lydia Kang said...

I would laugh and cringe, I'm sure.

I agree with you--you're voice, when you're being humorous but smart and sensitive all at the same time--is lovely and genius. And you!

Anonymous said...

I have short stories and poems I wrote from high school. Quite a difference from how I write today to be sure. I was a bit Jeff Spicoli back then.

Stephen Tremp

Jen said...

I definitely have some cringe-worthy letters that I've written, they are always fun to read and cry and laugh because of how awful they are.

I can't wait for you to share them!

Jolene said...

I just looked through some of my old journals and a BIG part of me just wanted to throw them away, except for the dramatic hilarity that escapes the mind of a sixteen year old.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I read a letter I wrote to my brother when I was 14 once. I was like, "WHO wrote THAT?!" LOL
It was kind of cool and kind of surreal.

VR Barkowski said...

No letters, but I have journals and love notes my husband and I exchanged two decades ago - we were carrying on a secret romance and didn't want our friends to know (um... they know now). THOSE are plenty embarrassing, lol!

Talli Roland said...

On my Lord. I shudder to think! Sometimes I can't even bring myself to open my old diaries because it's just so... cringe-worthy!

Dawn said...

I'm amazed at your revelation but also caution you to not throw out the investment you've made in the current WIP. Your voice can evolve and change, but also can switch depending on genre. And I love your blog voice, which is likely different than your fiction voice, which I would lay money on that I would love as well.

I definitely could recognize letters from high school but hope my "craft" has improved :-)

Carolyn V. said...

Oh no. I'd be shuttering. My old letters to my friends were just embarrassing. =)

Mary said...

OMG! I hope no such thing exists!!!!!!

Giggles and Guns

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Hmm, I have journals that go back 20 years, but I was definitely NOT in high school. The ones that make me cringe usually involve a dude, whoever the latest one was that I was swooning over at the time. Fun stuff. New novel in the works!

~that rebel

Janet Johnson said...

Very fun. I've read some of my old letters to my roommate the first summer after college. I was hilarious! So entertaining. Sometimes I wonder what's happened to me. :)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I wish I had my diaries from my junior high and high school years. :( I have no clue where they are. I know they weren't in any of the boxes/tubs in the basment!

Write what makes you happy!