From Humble Beginnings

By Jenna Minnelli ’16

If there’s one thing that you should know about me, it’s that I’m a writer. Stories, TV shows, movies–you name it, I’ve tried to write it. More recently, I’ve been focused on writing my book series, The Experiments. (Take note of that in case I become famous one day 😉 ) But when I was younger I had an abundance of word documents featuring what I thought were brilliant ideas. Now keep in mind that in the eyes of a six/seven year old, books like Junie B Jones and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie were written by the gods. So, as you can imagine, my ideas back then tended to lack in substance. Which (I hope) is a problem that I’ve learned to conquer with my newer pieces.

And, of course, the quality of my writing has significantly improved since then. This being said, this past weekend I decided to give myself a good laugh and look back on the brilliance of my younger years. And because I have a good sense of humor, I have decided to share some of the most embarrassing quotes from my early stories. Don’t judge me too harshly. These are…well. You’ll see.

The Top 10 strangest things I’ve ever written:

1) A Nice Poem by Jenna Minnelli (2006)

“Roses are read. Violets are gloom…you are my sunshine and you play rock blues.”

As the title suggests, this is a nice poem written for my dad for Father’s Day. And although I remember it earning a place on the refrigerator door, there are many reasons it is no longer still up there. I think you can figure out why…

2) Fairytale Mix-up (2006)

“Later that night people around the world heard that the people who are not appreciated on appreciation day would be burned.”

Seems like a bit of a severe punishment. To make this story worse, one of the main characters is Donald Duck. I suppose some part of my seven year old self really wanted to know what roasted duck was like.

3) Children Unknown (2009)

“May, I’m sorry we didn’t tell you [about something that was threatening your life]. We had to know too, but we got carried away with work and bills.”

Children Unknown was my first written novel, about 60 pages long. As a fifth grader, I was proud of it, but let’s just say that many things have changed since then. One change would include my viewpoint on good parenthood, which I hope would involve saving a daughter’s life over filing taxes.

4) Traitor (2009)

“Yes, first we abandon you, next we throw you on a bus, and then let the wolves eat your flesh.”

I had a demented sense of humor as a child. Granted, I still have the same sense of humor now, but at least I know how to contain it. In context, this sudden, dark outburst makes no sense. Which is precisely why it made the list.

5) Getting to Know Lucy (2009)

“‘You’re LACTOSE-INTOLERANT!’ She said while they both started screaming and running around the house.”

Imagine this scene: a father and daughter are having a lovely conversation when suddenly, the lactose-intolerant father pulls out a pint of ice cream and unknowingly begins eating it. Would it play out in your mind as dramatically as the quote I just gave you? I thought not.

6) Snowed In (2009)

“I looked at both of the kind elderly people sinisterly laughing and ran to the door.”

Sometimes contrasting images really add to a novel. And sometimes they can be a bit contradictory. This sentence is so confusing that I can’t help but laugh out of awkwardness.

7) Ella Who (2009)

“It’s just like jousting. It goes back and forth, but I never win.”

Lord knows what this even means. My best interpretation is that this was ten year old Jenna attempting to use a metaphor. Either that or I just assumed that I was really bad at jousting.

8) Untitled (2009)

 “That’s girl stuff. We men get up during class to pass a note.”

Because passing notes makes you really manly…

9) Josh Alexander Wayne and The Other Side (2009)

“Woodland, Virginia. 50 miles east of Richmond. Home of the Woodchucks. State champions for fishing.”

Planning is an important stage in the writing process. This is a prime example of part of my planning stage. Unfortunately, this fake city appears not to be planned out thoughtfully enough. The last two lines kill me.

10) Interned (2010)

“Of course it’s not normal, my dear. You guessed correctly. I’m a robot.”

There is so much wrong with this quote. Just the sheer randomness of it already makes it uncomfortable to read. Perhaps this quote wouldn’t be so random in context (afterall, the person saying the quote is actually a robot), but reiterating a fact that everyone knows to be true–that being a robot is in fact not normal–makes me cringe while reading it.

The only comment I have left is that I’m glad I’ve come a long way in my writing. I don’t really know if there’s anything more to say…

Thanks for reading. 🙂



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