When I was 13 and in the 7th grade, I started writing a story about five young couples on an ill-fated cruise down the coast of South America. At that time, there were five girls in my class who I spent most of my time with, and each of them was represented by one of the women in the story. And, naturally, whatever boy they liked or had a crush on, was re-imagined as a strong, handsome man. I don’t like to use anyone’s real name without their permission, but I think Leif Garret will forgive me for revealing that the character of Lance was based on him.
My friends all brought pages and clippings from magazines to school that showed how they imagined themselves and their men. At home in the evening I would work on the story, and the next day at school we’d huddle together at lunchtime so I could fill them in on what was happening with their characters.
According to the diary I was keeping at the time, my book was subject to all manner of censorship. Early on, I let my mother read some of it and she said I couldn’t take it to school unless I changed some things, primarily the part where Cari and Steve went to bed together. I have no idea if “went to bed” means that I specifically said they had sex, or if they literally just went to bed and my mom was worried about the implications. Either way, I removed the offending passages from the story.
A few weeks later, I wrote this in my diary:
Mrs. G makes me sick. She said that I can’t bring my book to school unless there’s some censorship. I had a part in it where a guy got kneed in the crotch.
Despite the tyrannical dictatorship of Mrs. G and the “what will people think” paranoia of my mother, I kept writing and eventually finished the story. As it is, a story about young adults marooned on an island as seen through the imagination of a 13 year old girl is hilarious. So I can only assume that the bits I was forced to excise must have been even more so, and it’s a shame that they’re gone.
On my primary blog, Pucker Up Buttercup, I have a couple of posts referring to some of my early writing, including The Islanders. But there’s just far too much to really explore in a short blog post, and I didn’t want to turn that blog into nothing but an exploration of what I dork I once was. So creating a separate space to do that seems the best option.
I’m starting with The Islanders, posting small sections until the whole story has been told. After that, I’ve got a lot to choose from and no particular ideas about what I’ll share next. So for now, please enjoy the story that’s so bad, it’s actually good – The Islanders.