Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Smackie Onassis: Ghost, Writer

I recently sent a pitch submission to the fine folks at Kill Your Darlings, a publication Vegatrain linked me to a while back. As part of my pitch I sent them a link to this blog, so I thought I'd very subtly take the chance to detail just how great a writer I am.

As I'm sure I've mentioned, I have been writing for most of my life. Even though it kind of ended up being music that I utilised as my creative outlet after I finished school, I had always wanted to be a writer. When I was in primary school my parents signed me up to a young writer's club. I believe it was called 'Starfish' or something along those lines. They had a magazine that accepted submissions from kids and it was from them that I received my first official rejection letter.

I can remember the first "book" I wrote. I remember being very clear that it was a book, not just a story and that I had the illustrations to prove it. I'm not sure if you know the technical difference between a book and a story but it has something to do with illustrations. I called it 'Sarah and the Mermaid' and it was about a girl named Sarah who goes for a swim and meets a mermaid. The mermaid is also named Sarah. It may seem like I was a bit self-obsessed but I had a reason for giving both of them my name, rather than just one of them. In true Smackie Onassis style, it was purely so I could make a terrible joke at the end.

When the two characters met I had one say "Hi! I'm Sarah" to which the other responded "I'm Sarah too!". When they parted ways at the end I included the exchange of Sarah (the human) saying "Bye Sarah!" and Sarah (the mermaid) replying with "Bye Sarah too!"

I am old enough to know now that this is a very old, very bad joke. But I was five years old when I wrote that. I can recall how excited everyone around me was that a five year old could independently come up with that. What I didn't tell them was that I had outright stolen it from an episode of Nelly the Elephant. No-one ever found out my shameful little secret but if they had I imagine they would have sat me down with a stern look and a copy of "My First Creative Plagiarism"*.

Luckily, my plagiarism phase ended when I hit double digits. I started writing my first serious novel when I was fourteen and completed it when I was sixteen. Unfortunately, I was so absurdly self-conscious that I refused to show it to anyone, not even my closest friends. In fact, scratch that. ESPECIALLY not my closest friends. The fact that I was writing it at all was one of my most closely guarded secrets.

I did show it to one person actually - my little sister. This may seem like a touching gesture of sisterly love but don't be fooled. The only reason I showed it to her was because, out of everyone I knew, she was the one who most represented my target demographic. I am not kidding. Remember: I was fifteen. She actually really loved it and continually pestered me to write more, but she remains to this day the only person apart from me who ever saw it.

I did go on to study a writing degree at uni, which I did mainly because I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life and everyone was telling me that I was good at writing. Unfortunately, I never finished it. I got two and a bit years into it before realising that they had run out of course ideas after first year and everything from then on was useless, monotonous filler. People are always telling me that I should finish it on the basis that I was so close to the end when I dropped out. I'm not going to on the principle that I would rather not have a degree than spend another year of my life wasting my time.

So, there it is. Throw in a handful of short stories and an abundance of blog entries (this was not my first blog. That being said, I will die before revealing the URL of my old one.) and you have the history of Smackie Onassis: Ghost, Writer. Oh, also that joke would make more sense if you knew that my housemates have a running gag that I am actually a Victorian era ghost. The "ghostess with the mostess" as it were. Which I guess you don't have any way of knowing. But let me assure you: if you had known that, you would probably have found it clever.

-Smackie Onassis

*I don't think this is a real thing, but I do know that "My First Sitar" was. My grandparents had it and I played with it every single time I was at their house.

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