During one of my trips back to the Mother Land (aka Texas), I was rummaging through a box when I found the aforementioned novelette. It's 36 single spaced pages long, written on a typewriter, and filled with red marks because at some point I must've gone back and edited the thing. It's a murder mystery told in first person, the narrator being a teenager. There's a teensy prologue and even an epilogue. I actually got the ball rolling on part of the mystery pretty quick. The narrator is already suspicious of her ne'er-do-well boyfriend at the bottom of page one. When does the dead body turn up? Not until page 13. Ah, well, rookie mistake. But… dun, dun, dun, dun! It's the narrator's boyfriend--ex-boyfriend, that is--and guess who suspect numero uno is? That's right, our intrepid narrator is in a whole heap of trouble from page 13 on. Muahaha!
On a more serious note, I actually gave this thing to my mother to read. I shudder now to think of her reading that story, but she dutifully did so as I impatiently waited--okay, lurked--nearby, watching her eyes scan the page then flip to the next, lather, rinse, repeat. Then the inevitable question when she finished. "What did you think?" And that wonderful woman said, "It's good." Insert huge sigh of relief here. It wasn't just the verdict I was waiting for, I was also paying attention to the way she read it, giving it the same considerable attention that she gave novels (she's always been a voracious reader).
It's so easy to crush a child's dreams with a few careless words. It's one of the things I think about often now that I'm a mother. I think carefully of the words I use around my son. I don't think I could ever forgive myself if I said something to crush him.
Well, now, there I go, straying from the topic a bit. So I found this interesting tidbit that talks about how different authors view their juvenilia. Some look upon it with disdain and horror. Some destroyed their early work. Others look at it a bit tongue-in-cheek. I guess that's more of my approach. I mean, this stuff is far from brilliant, but considering where I was in my life, it's not that bad. And it's not like anybody is going to judge my current work by what I did over two decades ago when I was an obnoxious teenager. Anyhow, it's a bit fun to look back at what I considered important, and it's a good feeling to know I've grown considerably since then.