One of my greatest pleasures as a teenager was the purchase of a brand new notebook. There was little money for frivolities, so I learned to appreciate what I had. While a notebook is a very small thing, I didn't see it as that. I saw blank pages waiting to be filled. I saw the possibility of a story yet to be told. I saw a world that no one else could see, and with a ball-point pen, I wrote it down.
Although I type this on a MacBook Air, it may as well be pen and paper. If I require a fancy computer to be a writer, then I'm not much of a writer. Circumstances create limitations—passion does not.
It was on a road trip with my mother and younger brother when I first read Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game. My brother was supposed to read it for a school assignment, but had abandoned the book a few pages in. So I picked it up, and devoured the text in two days. It was one of the most exciting books I'd ever read, my teenage mind trying to keep up with the twists and turns as they unfolded on the page.
I was so inspired by Raskin's mystery that I did what any young writer would do—I stole the plot and wrote it my own way. Except my version never got a title, and was left unfinished at 92 pages. This was most likely because I had no idea how to end it, or even how to fill out the intricacies of the story. Those are skills that come with practice, and I just didn't have enough yet. But I still tried to write something outside of myself, I still tried to do something that I'd never done before, and I couldn't be more proud of that.
Excerpt from "Untitled"
By Michelle (Reeves) Bredeson
1995, Age 16 (I think)
"Any news on the clues?" Zane asked that day at lunch. "I know Kasmir thinks she has the whole thing figured out."
"I do," Kasmir assured him with a smile. "Just wait and see."
"I think Viktoria and I have it figured out, too," Jonathan informed them. "It's so logical that I'm surprised the rest of you haven't figured it out by now."
"Remember that we don't have the same clues as you," Kennedy reminded her. "That may have a large deal to do with it."
"Does everyone know about the phonecall that Jesalie got?" Damian inquired, looking around the table. Everyone nodded, confirming his suspisions. "Well, she got another one last night. Same creepy voice."
"But all he said was 'one'," she spoke up, taking over the conversation. "Over and over again. It really scared me."
"Do you think the phone-call has anything to do with this so-called game?" Danielle asked her.
"I'm sure of it," she told him, her pale blue eyes looking off into nowhere. "If only I knew how."
"Speaking of theories," Simon began, his cornflower eyes surveying his group of friends. "Kennedy and I think that the dead guy in Chris's garage ties into this whole thing, too."
"I fully agree," Chris confessed. "But like Jes said, how?"
"I just wish we wouldn't have gotten tied into this whole mess," Viktoria announced. "We don't realize it, but we're starting to turn away from each other. That's what we don't need. I say we each guess ourselves and split the money ten ways. Then we can all stop worrying and getting ourselves so stressed out."
"No way!" Kasmir shouted. "Not when I know who it is!"
"I have to agree with her," Jonathan confessed. "Danielle and I want to go for it."
"Looks like it's every man for himself," Simon sighed. "I guess if that's the way the game was intended to be played... then that's the way it goes."