With my return to my hometown, I’ve visited a few friends here and there. These friends were made in high school and since we became friends in high school, it wasn’t surprising that memories from high school came up as we hung out.
I always laugh at those movies that feature characters who pine away for high school or state how high school was the best years of their lives. How hilarious those comments and wishes seem to me. High school wasn’t the best years of my life—not even close!
On one hand, high school was an easy-peasy breeze for me. I graduated with a 4.83 GPA, got along well with all the teachers, coaches, and administrators, had a good amount of friends, was successful in art and athletics, was in a lot of clubs and activities, was Class Favorite for four years and voted Most Memorable my senior year.
Parts of high school was super easy! But there were some parts that weren’t too pretty. Parts of high school, stories, and memories that make me cringe. See, even though a lot of great things occurred in high school, I experienced some things that weren’t great, things I should not have experienced, seen, or heard at that age and I know some of my peers who experienced even worse.
A year or two after I graduated from high school, I returned back to visit with an instructor. I had recently self-published my first novel, Eve, on Amazon. I was a young writer then and did not have the kind of skill that I possess now through practice and schooling, but some people seemed to like it and it encouraged me to continue writing. This instructor had heard of this self-published novel that I had written and had come up with an even better idea: that I write down all that happened to me during high school, a nonfiction book detailing the events of my four years in school.
At the time, I was ecstatic. Some events on popular high school TV shows like East Los High and Degrassi paled in comparison to some of the things that I experienced in high school and some of the things that I knew other people experienced. Hell, it’d be one interesting book, one that a reader wouldn’t be able to put down.
I know I’m being very coy. You’re probably yelling at the computer, “What the heck happened?!” And I would love to tell you, but as my instructor said, it would take a book to cover everything that happened, and even better a four-part series. But I don’t want to say now. That’s not good marketing. Haha.
But here’s a very general idea of some things that occurred: a school employee spreading rumors about students, accusations of assault, actual assaults at school, fist fights, abuse, suicide, cheating scandals, bullying, sex scandals, arrests. The super sad fact about these things is that I know with absolute certainty that many of the things that happened to some of the people I knew or to me, happens to high school youth all across the United States (probably world), in one way or another. (And for those of you who know where I went to high school, don’t put a bad rep on my high school! LOL. I know what happened at the other 2 local schools too and it wasn’t always pretty either).
Although I’ve only mentioned the negative, mostly because it’s what sticks out the most, the book would include the positive aspects of my high school experience. The groups I was a part of and the good that we did. The (few) fun parties that I attended. The most memorable sports games that I participated in. The first time I fell in love. The dances, the sleepovers, the handwritten notes, the bonding over burned CDs, and the talent shows that I totally rocked with my girls.
For those interested in this possible “Book of High School Memories,” don’t get too excited. I haven’t started writing it. I’m the kind of writer that goes forward with a book when I hear a voice. I heard the voice of my main character from my self-published novel in a dream. The book I’m trying to get published now, I heard the voice of my main character, Martha, as soon as I set my hands to a keyboard. Right now, I don’t hear the voice of my 14, 15, 16, 17, or 18-year-old self.
Which doesn’t mean I won’t ever hear that voice. Perhaps I’m too torn between the idea of writing and not writing it. On one side, I like leaving high school behind and not reliving it. It was seven years ago, why bring it up? On the other hand, a lot of bad stuff happened to a lot of people who I went to school with (not to mention me a few times), and I wonder if my story would help others. Could it prevent some of the abuses that might occur in high schools across the country? Maybe. Maybe one day, I’ll write this book and find out.
Maybe it will be nonfiction and feature my real name. Maybe I’ll publish it as fiction and use a pseudonym. Maybe it will only ever be a story of memories that are only brought up when I meet up with friends or with high school classmates at reunions.
All I know is that I’m a writer and I’ll write whatever voice is loudest. For now, I got a lot of other things on my plate that I’m focused on. But I’ll never forget that part of my life, because it’s one hell of a story.