Have I blogged about the series of books Allison and I wrote in elementary school? I just found my copies upstairs. Yes, Allison and I were authors at a young age. Each of us wrote our own book to start, structured as a series of letters between a pair of penpals. Subsequent tomes united our penpal characters and their adventures. In fact, volume two was cleverly entitled Penpals II: United. (Volume three, Penpals III: United Again. Volume four, Penpals #4: One Last Time.)
I know we were children when we wrote these - volume two would have been written around fourth grade - but reading parts of them now is nonetheless horribly embarrassing. I'm mostly embarrassed for my ten-year-old self, who thought the stories were hip and clever. (Our friends seemed to think so, but what did they know? They were in elementary school.) We illustrated the books with colored-pencil depictions of photographs, both entertaining and cringeworthy today.
By Penpals II: United, my characters - Anni and Courtney - were fifteen. They'd spent some time out of contact, while Courtney's family was in witness protection because her dad secretly worked with the FBI to bring down a big drug dealer. But, luckily, two years later the police "caught the gang." Whew! So long, witness protection!
Meanwhile, Anni was still living in San Francisco, and had acquired a 17-year-old superstar actor boyfriend named Brent Rockne. Soon Courtney flew out to visit Anni's family for Christmas. They went to Aspen, where they met up with Allison's penpal characters Jenni and Sabrina. Then everyone went back to California. And somewhere in there, Brent Rockne took the girls on a little ski adventure. Which was written up in a teen magazine! Check out the article below. The sentences span across the photo, rather than being separated into columns. That's how all the best magazines do it.
Where do I begin? How about with the fact that Brent Rockne looks like a sketchy thirty-something dude? Or the fact that he's groping Anni's chest? And the restaurant. F'Reau D'Plaur? I clearly had some vague notions about the French language, but none of the details. Then there's the article itself. Ski vail? You may be aware of the great skiing available at Vail in Colorado, but this is the more exclusive "Ski vail" in California. Where seventeen-year-old actors can be alone with a foursome of fifteen-year-old and thirteen-year-old girls: no problem! At least I didn't make him eighteen. Not then, anyway.
The rest is just like this. Even better, in many cases! Sometime I'm going to go through the pictures and write down every saying I drew on t-shirts and sweatshirts. I was really into that as a fashion statement in 1991.
Oh, and rent SURF NITES. I hear it was radical.