I’m a recent convert to Mortified!—the performance initiative that presents people reading from their original teenage journals, letters, poems, stories and other angst-ridden and embarrassing adolescent material.  Check out their website to find performances in your area.

The evening was brilliant.  Jon Stewart could not have made me laugh and cry more than the geeky highschooler who ate lunch alone and could not find a date for sophomore prom; the tenth grader writing rhyming love poems to Billy; or the teenage girl documenting her progress from first base to second to sloppy seconds…

Inspired, I ran home and dug through old boxes.  I knew there was no teenage diary.  As a ten-year old living with pre-divorce parents, I once wrote in my astrology diary “I feel like killing myself.”  My best friend read it and mocked me.  Mockingly read my words back to me.  No journal for me.

But, as a future drama major and English minor, I loved to write and fancied myself a possible poet or novelist, when not fantasizing about my career on the stage.  The evidence lives on.

I have several poems that focus on anger, death, and the absence of god.  Attending a Catholic girls’ school, I apparently developed a strong creed of atheism by the age of eleven.  I’m surprised it was that early, but I have evidence on a piece of Snoopy writing paper, which carries the literary masterpiece, The Sacrifice; it says 11½ years old.  For your reading pleasure, said poem with original typos and random punctuation:

The Sacrifice

The chanting loudens

The fire blazes

A furnace from hell

The petrified lamb

Donated, to a non-existence god.

The cheif

Majestic as his role,

As he prepares to strike the lamb

With a streak of blazing silver

With a blade

sharpened for occasion.

The tension stiffens

The silver strikes its prey.

Like rain from a cloud

Blood from a sacrifice

Which has served its’ purpose

As I grow older, the poetry becomes longer, more muddled, and increasingly pretentious.  Confidence leads me into the “more is less” realm of writing.  My general disdain of humanity and religion is painful; it is not insightful, but rather an outlet for my emotional turmoil.

I do have two short stories from the fifth form when I was about 15 or 16 that got Grade As from my English teacher.  I’m clearly on casino online a kick about freedom fighters.  My Liberation focuses on the day I, an IRA recruit, choose capture rather than escape in order to save a young woman who is “the mirror image of myself at a different time in a different place but essentially the same position.” (If only there was a period after “myself.”)

My next liberation fantasy takes us to Vichy France in World War II.  On re-reading, there are some questionable plot lines.  Why would British soldiers trying to get out of Belgium go via Paris?  Anyway, after successfully delivering false identity papers to a contact in Paris, my escape plans go wrong.  I take refuge with an elderly couple in the French countryside who “were probably the Nazis perfect idea of the Vichy-French.”  Yes, I was betrayed.  Yes, I was a World War II heroine.  Yes, I thought I was quite smart for using “Vichy” all over the story.

What I do like is that my protagonists are strong women who are on a level footing with their male counterparts.  Until they get caught.  But it’s so tempting to be a martyr.

Dear readers, what’s in your teenage attic?

5 responses to “Budding”

  1. Rachel says:

    What, does everyone head out early to the Hamptons for the weekend?

    Stella, I loved your post (and you stories)! It had me wishing I’d kept all this stuff, which I tossed sometime in college, confident that I’d never be nostalgic for those years of my life again. HA.

    But you could be pretty sure there was a poem that rhymed “all alone” and “cut to the bone.”

    Anyhow, I seem mortify myself plenty as an adult…

  2. Tim says:

    Hey! I’m back early from the Hamptons. It was a little cold and windy anyway.

    Thanks for sharing your mortification, Stella. I really enjoyed the poem, especially the fact that such condemnation of religion was written on Snoopy stationery. Too good.

    I’ve never really kept a journal consistently; it’s one of the things that I wish I did do, but it just hasn’t stuck the times I’ve tried. Of course, there was the occasional requisite tortured teen poem here and there, but those got cast in the fire at some point along the way. Now and then I do regret it, but not that much.

  3. Ivy says:

    I’ve kept a diary daily since 2 July 1988. I turned 15 a few months later. I can’t read the early books at all. I have a talent for abject mortification and it keeps me away. But occasionally I want to remind myself of what happened when and I look at it sideways with squeezed eyes. The horror!
    Clearly I am a slow learner though. Much, much later I undertook to write a poem a day for a year. Five years later I finally stopped. (After one of the notebooks inadvertently went through the wash. Bugger. Although I finished the year.) Needless to say, with a daily deadline they are generally dreadful. Yet sometimes hilarious.
    But I keep them still. Weird. Mortified, but not so much to do anything about it… Go figure.

  4. Nat says:

    Thanks for the wonderful poem, Stella. I always enjoy your posts.

    As to my mortifying poems, they were all written in a different language. Whatever I wrote in English, at the time, was for my best friend. She dated this dude, who was into English poetry, so she wrote to him and I helped. Anyway, looking at it now – it’s nothing impressive anyone would enjoy.

  5. J-Man says:

    That’s a good question, Stella – I never kept a diary for the same reasons you didn’t – I knew even then that I’d be too mortified if anyone found it. I think I mostly wrote songs, even then, with the requisite cliches and bad rhymes. I had a momentary thought after reading this post that I should go drag some of those old papers out, but even thinking about reading them sends me into rigor-mortification. I can’t imagine how people can read their old letters and diaries in front of others. Eeeep!