The Worst Best Book I Every Wrote

Me and my friend Jenny Gutierrez at my first book signing, 35 years after writing my first book.

I wrote my first novel when I was ten, and epic about a 12-year-old rockstar named Ems Gracie, and her band. Sadly, this text did not make it to publication. But, I learned a valuable lesson in writing it. The bulk of the novel was written at Camp Cleawox. While the other kids swam and boated and were generally happy campers, I sat on the shore, writing. The first night, after we all tromped back to the cabin, my bunkmates wanted to know what I was scribbling about all day long. When I explained the premise the entire cabin was interested (Did I mention the romance between Ems and Johnny, a character remarkably similar to the Ralph Macchio portrayal of Ponyboy?) I read the first few chapters out loud that night, to a cabin of girls who hung on every word. When I ran out of words, they demanded more. Thus the next day I also spent on the beach, writing. And the next night, after dinner and singing, I read aloud again. For the rest of camp, the girls protected my writing time from overzealous counselors, so I could finish the book for my cabin mates before we all headed home. It was a magical camp experience.

And all these years later, I’m still rising to the thrill of writing for others

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