My Writerly Beginnings

Ode to Mrs. Young

In fifth grade, I wrote my first book: How to Gag Yourself with a Spatula. There’s only one known copy in existence, a hand illustrated version on beige construction paper that looked like it was reconstituted from scraps of kleenex. It was the kind of paper that fell apart with three or four strong-armed rubs from a hard pink eraser held in a tight fist.

The lovely Mrs. Young, with her dark hair and exotic eyes, hosted the book’s release in the intimate setting of her homeroom. I stood in front of 30 pairs of eyes, ignored the heat rising up my neck, and read my story. Afterward, my peers and Mrs. Young offered rave reviews, and I was hooked. Hooked on writing, on taking the seed of an idea and turning it into a story that would capture and captivate an audience.

You won’t find my earlier works on, or for that matter. However, you may find my future works listed on those sites (here’s hoping, anyway). For now, you will find plenty of my writings, or information on where they are in print, on this blog.

I write flash fiction, short stories, essays about the craft of writing, and I’m currently working on a novel (inching my way to a final draft).
I also love to interview authors. I’m a firm believer that we learn so much about the craft of writing when we read what others have to say about it or when we scratch out our own ideas about it onto “paper.”

Feel free to contact me at writeunderpressure(at)gmail(dot)com, follow me on Twitter or Facebook, or simply subscribe to this blog.

15 responses to “My Writerly Beginnings

  1. I absolutely love the title of that book How to Gag Yourself with a Spatula. I think you should re-write it and submit it. The title alone is a bestseller.

  2. “How to Gag Yourself with a Spatula”

    Best. Title. Ever.

  3. Thanks Tricia and Kirsten!

    I was always a rebel, and in 1980, spoons were so “in” they were out.

  4. You’ve heard of Natalie Goldberg, of course. I went to one of her writing classes in New Mexico…highly recommend it, if you haven’t done it yet. I like your personal challenge to post writings weekly and to submit stories on a regular basis. I need to do more of that. In addition to a photoblog, I started a flash fiction blog called “Fiction Flash.” There’s nothing on it. Perhaps I’ll follow your example and start regular postings. Nice to meet you!

    • Nice to meet you, too, Sandra. How lucky to have taken a class with Natalie Goldberg – I’m jealous!

      You have some lovely photos on your blog, by the way. And, good luck with your fiction writing, too!

  5. Hi Christi. Also loving the title if your first book. Nothing like an intriguing title, everyone loves it. Cheers ๐Ÿ™‚

    Wish I could have been in that class too. So jealous.

  6. I found your blog by reading Pam Parker’s post yesterday.

    How to Gag Yourself with a Spatula – What a great title! I’d love to know what your 5th grade personality had to say about gagging on a spatula. And I noticed you “hand illustrated” your book on construction paper and not lined paper. That was so creative.

    My 5th grade teacher is etched in my memory, but unfortunately she was nothing like yours…You are so fortunate to have had her support and that of all your little peers!

    catherine ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I just have to say, I’m very happy you use the word “writerly.” I often use it and people tell me it doesn’t exist. I disagree. I am excited to learn more about your writing!

  8. That’s the funniest thing ever, and just the title alone makes me want to read it so badly! I think that you wouldn’t regret it!

  9. I love to write too. I’m 15, and I’m just getting on how to write the best.
    Nice blog!

  10. DefendingOurDreams

    As many people before me have said, that title is absolutely amazing. I would love to see a re-vamped copy of that book. I’m 17, a senior in high school, and I too am starting to write more often. Any tips for a young wanna-be author?

    • You’re starting out young, that’s wonderful! My best tip: read a lot, write a lot, then rewrite everything. And, find yourself a great group of writing friends with whom you feel totally comfortable sharing your work. There’s nothing like having a trustworthy go-to person when you need honest feedback. Good luck to you!

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