In seventh grade, I realized I had a talent to write. At first, I just wrote down my daydreams. Then my daydreams became stories. It’s been my dream since high school to have a book published. I’ve tried to write several books but gave up. They just weren’t right. I swore that I couldn’t write a book and I could only write short stories. After several failed attempts and a couple years of writing short stories, I have finally written a book length manuscript.
My manuscript is a memoir called Escape to the Family Garage. It has taken me four years to write it. My memoir is about how I was bullied in school and found love and acceptance at the family garage. I was put down daily because I have a learning disability. To write about how I was teased and degraded in school I had to relive it. It’s been a very emotional journey putting this manuscript together. I’ve cried, I’ve gotten angry and I became overwhelmed. I also felt joy when I wrote about the family garage and the adventures I had there.
Here is an excerpt from chapter twenty-four of my memoir. In this piece we are making a club house (we called it a fort) out of crates. The last crate we needed was in the part of a barn where the floor was caving in.
The crate became a treasure at the far end of a booby-trapped cavern. Denny took his coat off, bent his knees, and counted. The barn disappeared and we stood at the edge of the cavern, cheering.
A light flickered within my soul. “Come on, Denny. You can do it. You can get the treasure.”
Denny took a deep breath. “One. Two. Three. Here I go.”
I held my breath while Denny ran around the first trap and then the next. We all seemed to gasp at once when a creaking noise filled our ears.
“Watch out,” Scott shouted.
A piece of the cavern floor caved in revealing hot lava boiling up toward Denny. He swerved around it nearly tripping over falling boulders.
“Come on, you can do it,” Russell yelled.
Denny swerved around each obstacle. I let my breath out when he grabbed the treasure. He turned and jumped over holes of boiling lava and falling boulders on his way back. When he reached the opening and stepped onto solid floor, we gathered around him.
“You did it, you did it,” we cheered.
I use my creativity to bring our pretend worlds alive on paper. I wanted my readers to go into our imaginations with us and enjoy the fun my siblings, cousins, and I had. Memories like these were easier to write about. I enjoyed them. It’s the memories of the bullying that brought back anguish, pain, sadness, and much more.
The bullies were not just my classmates; they were also my teachers. This is an excerpt from chapter eight. I’m in second grade in this piece. My mom helped me learn how to read and I was excited to show everyone my new ability. I did my classwork on my own and took it up to the teacher for grading.
“You cheated,” her voice screeched. “There is no way someone like you could have gotten an ‘A’.” She drew a big “F” across my paper. “I don’t tolerate cheaters.”
But I worked really hard all summer to read. I didn’t cheat, honestly. I worked hard. Tears threatened to spill. My head hung low.
Words formed at my lips, but I couldn’t force them out. I could feel my classmates’ eyes on me. It was like they were tearing through my skin. Snickers filled the room. I slowly made my way back to my desk.
Donna leaned towards me. “You shouldn’t use my answers. Don’t worry, I’ll tell her you need my help.”
But I didn’t. I did it myself. My mom helped me read. I got the “A” myself. What’s the use? No one will ever believe me.
The book is thirty=two chapters long, filled with heart- wrenching scenes and happy ones. I’m currently editing chapter twenty-seven. I toyed around with several subtitles and when a fellow author suggested, How Family Love Can Overcome Bullying I liked it, but it needed some tweaking. My Pennwriters group via Zoom helped me with that. I finally decide on, Family Love Overcomes Bullying.
The subtitle fits perfectly. My parents, my grandparents, my cousins, and the guys in the garage lifted me up when my heart plummeted into sadness. They kept me going. My mom was always there to comfort me after a horrible day of school. My cousins were the friends I didn’t have, and my grandparents always showered me with love.
Here is an excerpt from chapter twenty-five. After playing with my cousins Matt and Cindy during a break at the garage we called “Coffee Break”, we go to my grandparents’ home to say goodbye.
Grandma bent down and kissed my forehead. All my pain seemed to float away with the warm touch of her lips and her arms around me. Lacey, Donna, and everyone else no longer mattered. I was safe in Grandma’s arms. She was like Superman. She was my hero. Her superpowers were endless love, encouragement, and an enduring faith in God. Grandma couldn’t lift a car, but she could always lift my soul out of sadness.
We hugged Sari, and Aunt Helen and followed Mom to the car. I watched Grandma standing outside of the glass door waving while we drove away.
I whispered, “I’ll see you soon, my hero.”
There are more heart-touching parts to my memoir, but you’ll have to wait until it’s published to read them all. My goal is to have my book published this year. I have been working hard to make this happen. Traditional publishers don’t like to publish memoirs unless they are about famous people. I’m planning on self-publishing through Amazon. I need money to hire a professional editor, have someone put it together, and design the cover. I have been setting a little money a side and selling woodburnings to put in my “book fund.”
I’m a very determined person. When I put my mind to something, I do what ever it takes to achieve it. This is what will help me get my book published.
My determination is what helps me stand proudly in the light of recovery and accomplishment.