Oldies But Goodies – Treasures From CHildhood
By Shauna Kosoris
After reading this post on the evolution of an idea, I went and dug up some of my old stories. By old stories, I mean the ones I still have from when I was about 8. I knew I still had one called Splenda Comes Home, the story of a unicorn who runs away into the forest. But I was delighted to discover that I still had two others, Cats and Kittens and All About Spooky. All three of these books were made in much the same way: I took a bunch of paper and stapled it together along the spine. Being multi-talented, I also drew both the covers and interior pictures for all three books; the only thing I didn’t make myself were the stickers that helped to illustrate Splenda Comes Home.
When I was younger, I absolutely loved both cats and unicorns, so it’s no wonder that these three books are about both. It was when I was 7 that my parents got us our first cat, Spooky. I’m guessing that Cats and Kittens was written within the first week of getting Spooky; the title is kind of misleading because all the book really does is talk about him and what he was like when he was nine weeks old. All About Spooky was written a bit later. This book had a physical description of him and talks about my plans to put a red “rebun” (yes, I misspelled ribbon) on him at Christmastime. Neither of these books were really stories per se, but I thought they were neat to reread.
Splenda Comes Home was a bit different. From the bright pink cover to the author bio and book synopsis I wrote, this was a real book. I’m not going to lie, rereading it made me laugh. The plot is pretty basic: a new unicorn named Star shows up and all of Splenda’s friends decide they like Star better. So Splenda runs away until she eventually makes a new friend, who convinces her to go back home. I seem to remember using the stickers to illustrate characters, but unfortunately I only had one set of the stickers, so characters sort of come and go. The dialogue is pretty funny though, with such gems as: “Smokey came and said ‘I like Star better then you. I like you not as much as Star. I do not like you anymore! So good bye,’” and “‘It’s just me, Spring.’ ‘Oh Spring, it’s you!’” Pure literary gold.
I’m sure most little girls go through a point in their lives where they love unicorns and I was definitely no exception to that. I used to watch The Last Unicornall the time (to the chagrin of my brother) and read whatever books I could find about them. But it wasn’t until after I read Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville that I realized that unicorns can be appealing to adults, too. After devouring that book, I got my mom to read it; she doesn’t normally like fantasy but she enjoyed it, too. She was proof that just because you grow older, it doesn’t mean you have to let go of the magic of your childhood. Or at least not while reading, and, by extension, writing.
Of course, I’m saying all of this in hindsight. When I was 8, all I knew was that I liked writing and sharing stories. Even back then, I knew I wanted to be a writer. And there has never been a time in my life where I’ve doubted that conviction.