“Life is a Road to Death” and Other Assorted Knowledge from 8-Year-Olds

Instead of feeling empty and sad and spending all day in the shower, I’ve been throwing myself into writing, because I know that harnessing all of this emotion into something positive is essential. I’d like to actually be able to get out of bed and keep my arms free of scratches, and frankly, right now, this is the only way I know how to do it. So I’ve been transferring everything from Word to Scrivener and re-outlining the novel.┬áBut because I am incapable of doing things one at a time, I am also writing two essays and going through journals and school work from elementary school.

Apparently in third grade, I took several math tests where I flat out refused to use subtraction, and turned all the -‘s into +’s with a marker. Then again, my ADHD wasn’t controlled by medication, and I was an otherwise emotional wreck who spent a lot of time hiding in the staircase or going to the nurse’s office. In the binder, there were a lot of worksheets, plenty of drawings, and many, many little “books”.

I have always been an awful (though enthusiastic) artist.


I wrote seven books about honesty that year. Surprisingly, I pretty much was a pathological liar when I was eight. I also must have been a very modest child to award myself the Newbery Award.

But my best find was the letter I wrote that won the Politics and Prose Essay Contest for third-grade that year. I’ve posted it below.

I seem to have cut off the final “n’s” of “garden’s” with my fingers. Oops!

I remember standing on a step stool, behind a podium, reading the letter aloud and thinking, “This is what I want to do: I want to be a writer when I grow up.” And looking back on it, the lines, “Life is a road to death,” and “Life is war,” are particulairly striking and rather good. I clearly wasn’t off to a half-bad start. Of course, whether it actually becomes a reality is an entirely different story.

Note: I’m not sure why I said “a pretty small house,” considering the fact that we had a fairly large house at the time. Of course, I could have made up some cottage that I wanted us to live in and was actually referencing that when I wrote the letter. I do remember convincing one of my seat-mates that I lived on a houseboat at around that time. Goodness knows what I was on about.