Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Flashback: Fern Ridge (or My First Writing Retreat)

The summer between 5th and 6th grade, I joined my childhood BFF Molly and her family on a trip to Oregon. I couldn't get over how lucky I was. A super long drive (I love road trips), my first ever vacation without my family, the loft of the Holbrook's rental house all to our 11-year-old selves, and, as Molly was my writing buddy, guaranteed non-stop story writing and reading for an entire week.

Best. Trip. EVER. I had never felt like such a grown up.

This trip is so clear in my memory it feels like it happened... well, a heck of a lot sooner than 19 years ago (eek!) Even packing was exciting. I ripped apart my vocabulary notebook from 5th grade, determined to fill it with the best story imaginable. I scoured my bedroom shelves for books I hadn't read yet. (this was the summer I decided I would enrich my life with the classics and packed only stories by O'Henry, The House of the Seven Gables and Black Beauty. I got as far as the beginning of Black Beauty before I ditched my books for Molly's - Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and The Dollhouse Murders were a little more interesting to 11-year-old-Marisa)

(30-year-old Marisa thinks they sound more interesting, too)

Mostly, I remember the freedom we had to do what we liked all day long. As soon as we arrived at the house, we set up a library in our loft and ran down to the river to find the perfect writing spot which we called Fern Ridge (shown in the above sketch). If we wanted to take a break from writing, we'd row a boat across the river to the beach on the other side. We'd play Spit and BS until our fingers fell off, listen to Bob Marley on a loop, watch more episodes of Happy Days than a person should watch in their entire life-time, build wigwams out of the underbrush and pretend we were Native Americans, and talk boys boys boys (we happened to be madly in love with the cutest set of brothers who attended our church - all my boy book characters were called either Mario or Giovanni that summer).

I held on to that notebook (obviously - it's shown above). And though my story, which I titled Fern Ridge, wasn't exactly the best story imaginable...

... it's certainly entertaining.

Man, did I love sitting on the stairs of our secret writing spot (which wasn't really secret - it was the stairs down to the river) and writing like crazy. I knew even then that I wanted to be a writer someday, but having a writing friend beside me, scribbling in her own notebook, was the BEST part of my life back then.

A year ago, Molly posted this little gem on Facebook and I just about fell out of my chair when I saw it.

No way were we this little. That was the summer we were practically GROWN UPS.

I don't know if Molly is writing these days, but she is certainly releasing her creativity into the world in the form of gorgeous organic meals with her gourmet catering company Organicopia.

And lookie here - she's has her very first webisode. (yay, Molly!)

Organicopia - Webisode Pilot from Nelson Nunez on Vimeo.

Have a flashback of your own to share? Blog it! And then tell me, so I can read it!

Have a wonderful weekend, folks!



Dianne K. Salerni said...

Wow, what a wonderful, magical memory! And how lucky you were to have a writing buddy.

Love the photograph! You still look the same. ;)

mshatch said...

omg, I love that brief glimpse of your story. Especially the reason for the jungle; the aunt liked Tarzan. too funny.

Alison Miller said...

What a magical time! And we love Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark!

Thanks for sharing!

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