I found a stack of old stories today. Reading them, I was amazed at what my then-15-year-old imagination could come up with. I was also amazed at how much I've changed in writing style, perhaps not all for the better.
The summer that I turned 15, my last summer of unemployed freedom, was when I literally plopped myself before the family computer -- a top-of-the-line Apple IIc -- and didn't move for hours at a time. I had a few tape cassettes, Fleetwood Mac is the only one I remember, that I played over and again on my brother's boom box. I learned how to type that summer, though not in a manner that would win awards or A's in a classroom. I've yet to figure out how to hit the keys in the "proper" order. All I know is that I can pound out a page in mere minutes... without looking at the keys.
Science fiction was my forte back then, believe it or not. I had an alien invasion and a half dozen intrepid young adults fighting to save the planet. I created my own language and jargon, tox being one of my favorite. Tox was short for talk-box or, in our world, walkie-talkie. My characters had names I once thought exotic and daring. Best yet, though, was the fact that I was writing for myself. I wasn't penning a thing for an audience so I wasn't worried about anything but making the story interesting for me and me alone.
This blog, however, is another story altogether. Good Lord, I've an audience. (I think.) I can't publish family secrets, someone I know might read them. I have to be careful about the names I mention, some nut might stumble across this. If I publish my stories, I have to worry about first rights and all that legal stuff. And, of course, there's one great big huge gigantic fear: what if no one reads this?!
Leave it to me to worry, huh? You name it, I can come up with a worse case for you.
Tucked in with my writings was a quote I treasured eons ago in college:
With a goose quill and a few sheets of paper, I mock the universe... let others worry about style and so cease to be themselves. Without a master, without a model, without a guide, without artiface, I go to work and earn my well-being...
Pietro Aretino wrote that. He rocketed to fame by writing a mock last will and testament for Hanno, Pope Leo X's pet elephant. He was, according to some accounts, the "Renaissance mouth that roared." I'd caution you though before looking him up: the Renaissance was not all curtsying and proper manners. Think of Pietro as the Howard Stern of his era... pre-FCC.
It's a reminder to me now to write like I'm fifteen again: carefree, for myself, and creatively.