Friday, September 18, 2009
Dear Diary --With Janette Rallison
About a month ago, I was helping my mom clean out my childhood home and came upon my middle-school diaries. Wow, what a drama queen I was.
Hmmm. Drama Queen 7th Grader=Children's Book Writer.
I invited other writers to share their earliest and most personal writing. The invitation stands! Let me know if you want to participate.
First up: Janette Rallison, author of many wonderful books, including Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To Do List (IRA Young Adults' Choices List 2007); It's a Mall World After All (IRA Young Adults' Choices List 2008) and How to Take the Ex out of Ex Boyfriend (IRA Young Adults' Choices List 2009)
I've written in journals since I was thirteen. You'd think that at some point I would have gone back and reread through these tomes, but beyond a few times that I’ve flipped through some of the later ones to reminisce about an event, nope, I haven't cracked any of them open.
I realize now, that I should have, if only for the entertainment value. Wow, I was silly at thirteen. For example, my sister got married that year so this event got a lot of page time in my journal. I understand my writing about my worries--they were mostly because my parents thought she was too young to get married. (She was the oldest so I hadn't realized at that point that my parents thought 32 was the respectable age to marry.)—but I described every detail of the day including the wedding luncheon and the reception. I wrote about the red punch, (it was so good I breathed it in) how many forks were used, (three, and they were silver) how many pictures were taken of the bride and groom (at least 250) and I even drew diagrams of where we stood in the reception line, what the cake looked like, and the poles that marked off the dancing area.
I have no idea why I felt the need to record all these details. Did I think someday we were going to reenact the event? Was I writing it down to make sure my reception was just as fancy? Did I think archeologists would one day unearth my journal and need it to understand wedding rituals of the 20th century? I have no idea. It was the only bit of information I didn't write down.
I did find some of my other observations on marriage interesting. I wrote:
I wouldn't mind being married. Sometimes I just want to get away from it all, from my parents, from all the things I do around here that I wish I didn’t have to do.
(Obviously I had getting married confused with taking a vacation to Disneyland. Hello, when you get married you have to do all that stuff that you wish you didn’t have to do plus some. I guess I thought elves came to pay the bills and stock the fridge.)
I wish I could get away from school and all its popularity groups and the struggle for boys and all the homework. (Okay, granted, I had a point about that. I don’t miss junior high.)
My sister looked so happy, so peaceful. (Of course she did—she no longer had to spend all of her time planning reception details.)
Then I went on to talk about my cousin, Jill’s wedding reception—luckily without the details about every food on the table or what color the napkins were.
Jill looked absolutely radiant! It was then I really decided that I was really going to look forward to my wedding. I even started a wedding fund which I now have a little over 10 dollars in. (I have no idea what happened to that fund. I probably spent it on chocolate in later years when I grew more cynical about men.)
I wonder what it would be like to be with a man, have his children, and live together for the rest of our lives. It’s a big step getting married. I hope I find the right guy. (I did, and it’s wonderful—even if I didn’t get ribbons on the poles to mark off the dancing area for the reception. Come to think of it, I didn’t get a band or a dancing area. I think I should show my journal to my parents. They owe me some ribbons and a band.)
By the way, at Jill’s reception I caught the wedding bouquet and then afterwards one of the waiters who worked there asked me to marry him. He was just kidding. I said, “Yes!” That was fun! (No wonder my parents worried their children getting married too young.)