Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Flashback: Middle School Marisa

Because of the awesome file cabinet my mom gave me when I was ten, I've saved many old projects from my school days, particularly middle school projects. It's fun looking through them. I was such a creativity nerd back in the day and I didn't even realize it.

Between the ages of 10 and 14, if you'd asked me if I was a smart girl I would have rolled my eyes and said, "No way, uh-uh. I get the worst grades ever," and meant it. My grades in school were horrible. Instead of doing my homework, I hid it in a box under my bed. Add to that the fact that I was fairly rebellious, and it's no surprise I spent a lot of time in group counseling with all the other failing-middle-school trouble-makers. I was even expelled from one of my classes because I was such a pain in the *bleeeeep* and my teacher wanted me out of her life forever.

But when it came to creative class projects, oh man, was I in my element. If a homework assignment involved art in some way, I always got a perfect grade. I poured my little tween heart into all of them, determined to be a shining star.

The above picture is from my seventh grade English/History class. For this particular project, we were supposed to make a missing person's poster for one of the main characters in the book we were reading, The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly (a fantastic middle grade for all you MG book lovers out there).

At the age of twelve, I loved this book. I flipped out over this book. It takes place in 15th century Poland and I wanted to be a historical fiction writer back then. Needless to say, I had this book finished the day after my teacher handed it out for us to read as a class. When she assigned this poster project, I attacked it in my usual creative-project fashion and I went above and beyond the call of duty by walking to the town library after school and checking out books on calligraphy and historical European costumes so I could make as accurate a missing person's poster as I could. I spent hours practicing my calligraphy and designing the red and blue costume for my poster. I got an A. There's even a little note on the bottom from my teacher asking if she could keep it ... I guess I said no, since I still have it.

Looking back, it makes me sad that I thought I was so dumb in my grade school days. I wish I could go back in time and chuck a handful of self-esteem and common sense at young me. Force myself to pull my homework from under my bed and actually do it. And of course, tell myself to be a little nicer to those poor teachers of mine.

Ten years after seventh grade, I ran into the teacher who assigned this missing person's poster project. I was in college, coaching after-school cheerleading at the elementary school her daughter attended. She remembered me on sight and asked how my art was going. I couldn't believe she even remembered me, let alone the fact that art was my thing. I might have been a disaster of a student when it came to my middle school days, but at least I made a positive impression when it came to my creativity!


Have a flashback of your own to share? Head on over to Tia's blog for Flashback Friday, the coolest meme in town. No, really. The coolest.

(And, in case you were curious... I was expelled from 8th grade Leadership. As it turned out, middle-school Marisa was a very good leader (not to be confused with a very nice leader). I used to organize and put into motion all sorts of class rebellions and my poor Leadership teacher (who I hated back then) got fed up and kicked me out, leaving me to hang out with the school principal every day during 4th period. I didn't mind. The principal thought I was charming and used to have me to tell him stories all period long. Happy memories of class expulsion. I make my mama proud)



Heather Kelly said...

Marisa--every time you down-play your writing, you should remember this:

"Looking back, it makes me sad that I thought I was so dumb in my grade school days. I wish I could go back in time and chuck a handful of self-esteem and common sense at young me."

Because maybe some future day you will feel this way about how you view your writing today.

*Throwing a handful of self-esteem and common sense at the writer Mareesa*

AlyGatr said...

Mini Marisa the hellion...imagine that :) I think it's utterly amazing that you've held on to so much. I already have a huge stock of Amelia's artwork stored up, all the way back to old daycare finger paintings.

LOVE your poster. Knowing you, it just screams "Marisa"

Christopher And Tia said...

Seeing your old artwork is always so rad.

One time in the 4th grade, we had to draw a bowl of fruit. I HATED it. I hated art assignments, because my brain just can't make it happen, haha. No matter how hard I try.. my bowl of grapes looked like a half circle with a mountain of rocks on top :(

Robert Guthrie said...

I assume making your Momma proud was the biggest lesson. Yay for the mom!

Jonathon Arntson said...

H's comment made me feel all warm and fuzzy and I kinda think she's on the verge of telling me the same thing.

nikid said...

Great flashback!! Wouldn't it be nice if we were able to give ourselves a "push" back in the day? That 'Wanted Poster' is great - no wonder you received a A! I save all of my kids work on an external hard drive and my computer as photos - it is nice to look at them whenever I want!

ElegantSnobbery said...

Heather - .... yes, I definitely need that handful of self-esteem and common sense. Thanks for the reminder!!

Alyssa - YAY, I'm so glad you are keeping Amelia's work! She'll love having those! And haha, yes, it screams Marisa. :)

Tia - Just call your work modern art!! :)

Robert - Haha, yes, I do make her proud :) Especially now that she's not being called to the principal's office to pick me up anymore!

Jon - I'm on the verge of telling you the same, too. *throws a handful of self-esteem and common sense at the writer Jon*

Nicole - Thanks! And SO glad you save files of your kids work... smart! I started scanning my kids work, too. And it saves much more room than the actual picture!

Much More Than Mommy said...

I think it's awesome that your teacher remembered you and your art! When I see teachers, they often just remember how quiet I was! :-/ I don't know what to think of that! :-D

That was a REALLY creative project, great teacher!

Chelsey - The Paper Mama said...

Good idea for the filing cabinet for your goodies as you grow up! I know I've misplaced quite a few of my creations because... well, I was messy! :)

I think I would have said the same thing in school. I was a "c" average student. I just needed to actually do that homework!

I was an "A" student in college! Probably because I went to school for design.... yay art!

Tina Laurel Lee said...

I love this. You are an awesome character. I love that you throw things at your past self.

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