I never liked school. From preschool on, it just wasn’t for me. Things were okay until high school came around. I attended an all-girl Catholic school that just quite simply wasn’t for me. There was the filthy cafeteria, the students who wanted nothing to do with me, the crazy schedule, and the faculty and administration blind to the problems that surrounded them. Plenty of girls liked it there, most of them, in fact. They worshipped the school and everything to do with it; many of the faculty members were prior students, returning to the place that changed their lives, that they loved as much as one can love school, liking it more than the college experience. A couple others saw the school as I did, but everyone else had on rose colored glasses, or maybe they were school bus yellow.
Perhaps it was me. I was always the odd girl out, wanting to spend time with adults instead of peers, not wanting to get dirty or play sports, heading to school each day to learn, then going home to leave it all behind, trying my hardest not to think about it. No matter the cause, it was how I felt, and as much as I tried for awhile, I couldn’t change the school and didn’t want to change myself to the point of no longer seeing me when I looked in the mirror. We can change who we are, but for the most part, we shouldn’t. After sophomore year and an expansive investigation of nearly every high school, public, private, and parochial in the metro Detroit area (seriously dozens of them), my parents and I made the difficult decision that I would finish high school through an online program.
It went well. It wouldn’t be for everyone, but for me it was perfect. I worked on my own time and at my own pace, having fun as much as possible, even when I was working. It was during this time that I started to get the idea of writing a novel based on my experiences in traditional high school and what would have happened had I made the decision not to homeschool. Would I have stayed where I was? Gone to another school? Would things have worked out in the end?
A lot of fiction writing is about what ifs, whether novels or movies. What if you could go back in time and save President Kennedy? (11/22/63 – a recent read) What if time was currency? (In Time – a pretty good movie) And what ifs roam my brain all the time, so I decided to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, really.
What I ended up with was an over 300 page novel. I like to think some of it was good, maybe even really good, but I was too close to the situation; the novel helped me deal with my feelings and emotions, which were very strong, however, it was too personal and way too long for agents to want to be a part of it.
Getting all of those rejections, and there were dozens of them, was tough. Really tough, but I learned a lot. I learned more about writing, I learned about the process, and I learned how long a novel should be (a lot shorter than the one I had written). Most importantly perhaps, I learned that writing was what I really wanted to do. I thought I might be discouraged, but I wasn’t; I only wanted to continue writing more and more, dreaming about becoming a published and popular author almost all the time. So I headed back to the computer with ideas racing in my mind. That’s where the story will pick up next time!