I may not remember much, but I remember the first time I heard about the school. I was seventeen. No, that's no good; I was seventeen for too long. This was back when I had just begun to be seventeen, when nothing odd or unusual had ever happened to me. If you had asked me then what I planned to do with my life, I would have said college, then perhaps marriage and a family. And I'd write. Oh, how I longed to be a writer! I suppose I am one, now. Everything else is gone, but I can still put pen to paper and tell my story -- the only thing I was given in trade for all that was taken from me.
I won't bore you with the details of my early life. That would make for tedious reading, and I don't remember much about it in any case. For all intents and purposes, my life began -- and ended -- at seventeen. I've never let anyone read my diary before, but in order to do this right and in the right order, you have to understand who I was and how came to have a story to tell.
April 11, 1996, 10:15 PM
I hate history. No, that's not true. I love history itself, but my actual history class drives me nuts! If you were to go by the textbook alone, or by what Mr. S says, you'd think that at any given point in history, 95% of the population were men, 4% were women, and maybe 1% were under the age of 18. Can it really be that nobody my age ever did anything interesting or important? It seems like the only exciting thing a historical teenage girl could do was die or marry a king. I know there were cool women in history -- Eleanor of Aquitaine, Eleanor Roosevelt, and even a few who weren't named Eleanor -- and at some point or other, they were all my age, but we never hear about that part. It's so frustrating!
That's part of why I love my favourite author, A. S. She takes the stories of the few girls from history we actually do know about, and she turns them into novels. The characters seem alive, and it's like she knows even the parts of their stories that no one today could possibly know. Even though most of the stories are really sad, I love them. I wonder if she's got a new book coming out soon? I've read all her other ones at least twice. If only I could write like she does. She makes everything seem so real.
I hate when people ask me what I want to be when I grow up, because all I really want to do is write. When I tell anyone that, they get a sort of condescending smile on their faces, and tell me "that's nice", like I told them I want to be a superhero or something. No one takes me seriously. But I really think I can do it. I love books. I love to read. I love writing. I've won writing contests at school before, and I even had that one poem published in a magazine.
Dad was just in here, checking to see if I was doing my homework. I'll do it after he and Mom go to bed. I usually do anyway. I'm just a night owl like that. He knew I was writing in my diary right now anyway. He drives me nuts sometimes, but I secretly love that he knows me and lets me get away with it.
I asked him if he thinks I'm a good writer. He gave me the usual "of course you are, Honey," answer at first, but I need a more serious answer. I think I'm good, at least for being seventeen, but it is so hard to get anyone to give me a real opinion. Seems like everyone is so wrapped up in giving us kids good self-esteem that they'll tell us anything we do is awesome, no matter what. M's getting to be the same way.
Anyway, he told me what I already know; that writing is a hard way to earn a living, and only the fortunate few ever really manage it. But he says I'm young and I'm smart, and that if I am willing to work hard, I can do pretty much whatever I want. Cheesy answer, Dad. But probably true. I know writing might not pay the bills at first (if ever!), but I don't think I could stop even if I thought I was the worst writer in the world. Dad said as much, too. He said that I should never stop doing what I love.
I know when people look at me, all they see is a blah, boring, ordinary, bookworm of a girl. Plain old Cassie Clarke. Medium height, brown hair, brown eyes, no fashion sense, and a bit on the skinny side (if you're listening, God, curves please, whenever you're ready).
I'm not complaining, though. Not really. I may look ordinary, but I don't feel ordinary. These ideas that buzz around inside my head like a thousand bees are good ones, I'm sure of it. One day, I'll write them all down, and see them printed in black and white, hear their pages crackle, feel the weight of them bound in glossy covers. It makes me excited just thinking about it.
Time for bed now, though. Or at least, time for homework. Oh! I almost forgot my word of the day! I've been saving this one up for a while.
Bibliophile: A person who loves books.