Early Lessons in Writing

Emily circa 1988

Dear Diary,

I am eight, and already I am a prolific writer. Just today, I wrote “Ryan is a fucker” in cerulean blue on a piece of paper. My teacher just raves about my penmanship. I’m bored with writing though, so I’m going to stuff my crayons and papers back in the art drawer in the kitchen.

Big Em


“Ryan! Emily! It’s time for dinner.”

“Yes! I’m starving. What are we having, Mom?”

“Pot roast. Here, put these on the table.”

“Pot roast? Aww, man.” I set the table.

We sat down to dinner, each in our respective chairs. I drank my milk and willed the mushy carrots to go away. In the background, Peter Jennings talked about Hurricane Gilbert. I pushed my carrots around until they got cold. Then, of course, they were even more disgusting.

“Can we get a dog?” I asked.


Reluctantly, I finished dinner. Then I made a move to leave the table, grabbing my plate, glass, and silverware. Mom motioned for me to sit back down. “Your Dad and I need to talk to you.”

I knew it was bad before it got bad. Mom looked angry, and Dad looked disappointed. But then Mom pulled out my writing and set it on the dining room table in front of me. I smiled. It was awesome. My Rs were absolutely breathtaking. I waited for the praise.

“Emily, we are so disappointed in you. I don’t know how you can write that about your brother. How do you think Ryan would feel about this? He would probably be very sad and hurt. The Bible teaches us we should be nice and care about other people.”

The burden of my parents’ guilt became heavier and heavier. I sunk into my chair, and hung my head in shame. I stared at the scar on my right knee while the lesson continued. My chin started to quiver.

“Are you sorry?” It wasn’t so much a question as an invitation to beg for forgiveness.

“Yes, I’m sorry,” I sniffed. “I promise I won’t do it again.”


Dear Diary,

I am never writing anything again.

Big Em

P.S. What does fucker mean?


Mama’s Losin’ It This entry is part of Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop. It is a response to the prompt, “Write a post about a childhood memory as if you’re in that moment again…from the perspective of yourself as that child.”


0 thoughts on “Early Lessons in Writing

  1. In your defense….Ryan is a fucker;)

    PS:  Seeing this picture of you when I graduated high school in 1985 makes me feel so freaking old.

    Dear Diary,

    Emily is a fucker.

  2. Lol, glad you didn’t stop writing. 

    I called my wonderful, caring, and patient mom a much stronger word under similar circumstances when I was around six or seven. The whole family was in turmoil, and I was like, “why are they upset?”. 

  3. This was delightful! When I was six, I called a babysitter “whore” because I had heard it on the bus, asked the big kid who said it what it meant, and was told it was what one called a girl who was making you mad. I remember a very similar conversation with my folks, although mine didn’t end in a vow to stop talking.

  4. Lisa Nicholson says:

    Love this Big Em and I just felt old when I saw you picture as my picture of 1988 is a photo of me in a high school cap and gown! 

    You were talented from a young age and followed the right path.

  5. Very entertaining. And yes, it’s a good thing you didn’t stop writing. This is my first time here, but I’m gonna definitely read more. Thanks for the great writing!
    Visiting from Mama Kat’s.

  6. Jake P says:

    Funny stuff, Emily. Reminds me of the time when I was around 10 or so and conducted a cuss-word spelling bee for a bunch of neighborhood kids. My sister (2 years younger) and I had gotten a blackboard easel for Christmas, so it seemed like a good educational program.

    Alas, I neglected to erase it before Mom saw it. (In retrospect, I’m sure my parents laughed their butts off…but I vaguely recollect Ivory soap being involved in the punishment phase.)

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