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 Older and Wiser

Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 10:23 pm
Posts: 191
Thu Mar 23, 2006 10:29 pm
Hello! I am posting my memoir about my Mamaw's house. Hope you like it, and can relate to it. Here goes...

Older and Wiser
I have been trotting up those six concrete steps to my grandmother's house for as long as I could walk. At each visit, I have the same feeling of warmth of being with family. Each time, I am a little bit older and a little bit wiser. Sometimes, I think the little old house at *** ***** Street is getting older and wiser right along with me.

Message Edited by _iluvjk260_ on 04-22-2006 04:06 PM

 Re: Older and Wiser

Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 10:23 pm
Posts: 191
Thu Mar 23, 2006 10:47 pm
Okay, that was my lead, and here is some more.

Perhaps the most sacred part of Mamaw's house is the bar in the kitchen, with the chairs you can dangle your feet off without touching the linoleum floor. As a toddler and into my kindergarten years, I would sit at the seat where you can view the tv, eating fish from Okeechobie, home-grown green beans, and corn. The satisfaction in this one spot makes it hard to get up.

I left this spot to my eldest cousin, and I took a different seat at the bar. This place is also special in its innocence and youthfulness of being able to talk about kid stuff with your cousins. We sit there, dipping our fish in our ketchup on a separate dish. We joke, laugh, and tickle eachother endlessly, only to be broken by the adults nagging us to clean our plate. It is at this spot that you aren't burdened by school or friends, only how well you can play hide-and-seek or baseball.

At this time, I am transitioning from the bar to the table, a much more somber seating arrangement.The older relatives sit here with their potato salad and other nasty foods on their plate. They talk of politics, the obituary, and what the world is coming to. I nibble on my delicious macaroni and cheese, listening to their conversations. Sometimes I don't mind, but I try my best to sit with my cousins at the bar.

After meals, the best thing to do is step outside the creaky back door, scurry up to the red maple tree, and see how far you can climb. When I first discovered this great joy, I would drag a chair to the tree and hold on, only to get a few branches up. I might get lucky every now and then, and manage to hold onto a book while grasping the trembling boughs. Occaisionally, my uncle would cut down a dead limb, challenging me to find another method of climbing the tree. Believe me, I always found a way.

 Re: Older and Wiser

Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2006 6:14 pm
Posts: 253
Tue Apr 04, 2006 7:59 pm
Hey dude :D

I liked your story... It made me feel like you were holding a video camera, and before my eyes I could see colorful scenes.

Great Job!!!!


 Re: Older and Wiser

Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 10:23 pm
Posts: 191
Thu Apr 06, 2006 12:10 pm
Okay, I'll finish the memoir up now...

After mastering the tree (even without the chair!) I started carving. A simple twig broke the skin of the maple, slowly chipping away the bark. My first carving was my initials, from about five years ago. The mere 'A.B.' is carved deep, the lines blackened from being touched frequently. I engraved a cross when my grandfather died, a flower for the first day of spring, and a heart for Valentine's Day. Recently, I showed my younger cousins the exact way to swing your leg to get into the tree, and how to choose the right carving stick. Now the pictures, and the tree, are a mixture of me and my cousins, which makes it all the better.

If you jump from the tree and tumble down the grassy hill, you would reach the rust-laden gate, and be staring down a gravel path. At the halt of the road is the humble barn, not been kept up in a while. Approaching the barn, you can see the chips in the paint, the missing planks in the wall. This is Pa's barn. When he was living, I would steer the tractor down the gravel, my grandfather pushing the gas pedal. As we entered the barn, we were refreshed by the coolness of the shade. I would hop off the tractor, and kick the gravel aroud, creating dust only visible when it passed through the light that filtered through the cracks in the barn.

Since Pa died, the barn is seldom used. His pontoon is there, along with rusty farm equipment. My cousins and I still race down the path and pull open the the sliding doors with a great heave. Then, kickin up dust as usual, they zoom ahead of me, scurrying onto the pontoon, 'Jim's Jewel'. We fantasize of being attacked by pirates or sharks , defending our lives from danger. In a lull of the excitement, we pause to remember Pa working in there. At the next sudden noise, we rush into the glaring July sunlight, screaming all the way to the house, all three of us knowing there was nothing to be afraid of.

Now, I grow more familiar with the barn. The smells of dust, hay, and motor oil have a friendly effect on me, and make me smile as I inspect the chainsaws and peculiar machines, wondering when they were last used. The wind whistling through the rafters no longer scares me, it just gives me company. Only when it gets too dark or my bare arms shiver do I go back inside.

In my coming years, I know I will learn to drive, get an apartment, and become more and more detatched from home. I will visit Mamaw's house less and less. I know I'll miss the fish from Okeechobie, the tree carvings, and 'Jim's Jewel'. But mamaw's house will change and grow, too, and that is a hard thing to face. but, it's a good thing, for sure.

The End!!! Please give me some constructive feedback so that I can fix this up. I know it needs it!!! For one thing, I know I need dialogue, but I need suggestions where. Help, please!

Message Edited by _iluvjk260_ on 05-22-2006 05:29 PM

Message Edited by _iluvjk260_ on 05-22-2006 05:30 PM

 Re: Older and Wiser

Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 12:15 am
Posts: 5108
Sat May 20, 2006 10:04 pm
I think it is great the way it is. But you would probably have to talk to someone who is more experinced than me. Keep it up!

 Re: Older and Wiser

Joined: Mon May 15, 2006 5:07 pm
Posts: 678
Thu Jun 22, 2006 9:48 am
Wow. I loved that. I could see every single detail while I read it. You should write a book about that kind of thing.


 Re: Older and Wiser

Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2006 7:42 pm
Posts: 586
Sat Jul 08, 2006 10:44 am
I think its great, u should put dialogue when u and your cousins r playing pirates and stuff u should put "arg" and "gar" and stuff like "shiver me timbers" i'm not sure it needs any more dialogue. You're a great writer Keep it up!! Love to hear more from u!!!!

 Re: Older and Wiser

Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 2:35 am
Posts: 10
Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:02 am
wats a memoir

 Re: Older and Wiser

Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 10:23 pm
Posts: 191
Mon Aug 14, 2006 10:09 am
To answer your question, Stephie, a memoir is a true story written in first person, about a specific person, place, object, or animal. It elaborates on different aspects of the subject, and includes LOTS AND LOTS of sensory detail.

Hope i helped!

 Re: Older and Wiser

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2006 2:44 pm
Posts: 4
Sat Sep 30, 2006 10:19 am
it was very good and iam new you should read my story the livingroom casserole

 Re: Older and Wiser

Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 2:16 pm
Posts: 44
Sat Jun 16, 2007 8:57 pm

Message Edited by Write_It_Moderator on 06-19-2007 03:07 PM

 Re: Older and Wiser

Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2005 9:10 pm
Posts: 293
Fri Jun 22, 2007 11:53 am
Hi Iluvjk260,

Thank you so much for posting this great memoir!

As many of your peers have commented, the thing that really stands out in this piece is your excellent talent for description. You provide us with so much visual and aural detail that we really do feel as though we’re in Mamaw’s house with you, tagging along as you progress from one room to the next.

I also think it’s great how you’ve managed to capture some of the essence of being a small child, then a bigger one, then one of the “big kids,” etc. – until you have reached your current age. Little details (like the fact that you could dangle your feet without touching the floor, the memory of dipping your fish into the ketchup in a separate dish, and the specific figures that you carved into the red maple’s trunk) help us to really identify with your story, whether or not we shared these experiences – and who knows how much longer we’ll be able to actually remember our toddler days!

On a similar note, you looked ahead into the future near the end of your piece and referred to the time you’ll learn to drive, the day you’ll get your own apartment, etc. This is a really good way of unifying your story.

Even with all that praise, I do have several suggestions for improvement. Probably the most important one is that you should be more consistent with your tenses. This is an issue throughout the piece, beginning with the very first sentence: “I have been trotting up those six concrete steps to my grandmother's house for as long as I could walk.” The use of “have been” suggests that you are discussing an activity which you still engage in, but “for as long as I could walk” makes it sound like you are talking about something that only happened during the time that you were able to walk, and that you can’t do anymore. I think what you meant to say was something like “from the time that I could walk,” “for as long as I have been walking,” or “since I was able to walk.” Lapses of tense like this one occur frequently in your piece, and the effect is rather disconcerting – you should choose between writing the entire piece in past tense and writing the entire piece in present tense.

You mentioned that you think your memoir needs some dialogue added to it, but I agree with Cami, BookCrazee, and Geraldino – you don’t need to add dialogue. If you wanted to insert some, I would remind you that “less is more” – you could, like BookCrazee suggested, use it only in the pirate-playing scene, but it might be interesting to let Mamaw speak, and possibly Pa, too, in the earlier scenes.

It seems odd that none of your family members are ever described visually, especially since one of them is named in the title (she is never mentioned at all during the piece, either). I’m not suggesting a detailed description of anyone, but you do such a good job describing inanimate objects that I think it could only add to the piece if you were to describe one, or a few, humans as well.

I really liked how you used personification and described the house growing and changing as you did, but nothing in the body of the text really supports this – perhaps, instead of saying that it changes and grows, you could suggest that there are always new things to learn from being at Mamaw’s house, just as there always seem to be new rooms and areas to discover as you get older.

Every now and then, a tiny bit more explanation might help. Personally, I had no idea what (or where) Okeechobie was the first time I came across the term, and I was a bit confused when I read that the “older relatives . . . talk of politics, the obituary, and what the world is coming to” (which obituary are they discussing so often?).

Finally, since the title of your piece is “Older and Wiser,” it would be a good idea to add at least one example of how you’ve been growing older and wiser with each visit, or in between visits, to Mamaw’s house. You’ve done a great job at documenting your physical growth without being blunt and unimaginative about it, but what about emotional maturity and mental growth?

I think that’s it! Hopefully this feedback is constructive enough for you. :) Thanks again for posting, and take care!!

 Re: Older and Wiser

Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 5:24 pm
Posts: 3
Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:01 pm
It was a great story, like everyone else has said. :smileyvery-happy:

 Re: Older and Wiser

Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 3:03 am
Posts: 319
Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:14 am
short, bu tgood.
write with your heart,

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