A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Woman

A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Woman

K. Potter, 2006

Vita Hominis Sine Literis Mors Est.

Man’s Life Without Literature is dead.

“Once upon a time there was a girl who, at the age of twelve, took an airplane to Hawaii and ended up in a foreign country….”

That’s how it always started. She would sit down at her desk, contemplating various stories and upon reaching a grand idea she would tell her parents. Her parent really, since she didn’t live with her father.  She didn’t know him and thought for a long time that he didn’t know her as well. She sat at the table either with her mother, Christine, and her brother, Aaron, or sometimes with her grandma, Janice. She was so excited about the story she was beginning, that every night after dinner she would compete with the others for attention just to get in that one line:

Once upon a time there was a girl who, at the age of twelve, took an airplane to Hawaii and ended up in a foreign country.

Grandma Janice smiled and looked intrigued.  Her face was showered with freckles and beauty marks.  She was a lot nicer than her mother and always seemed more interested.

The Potters lived in a small two-bedroom home in a cul-de-sac.  The two siblings, Kristyn and Aaron had two different fathers and shared the same mother.  The only time it was apparent that they had different dads was on holidays when her brothers’ dad would call and pay him respect for the past year, in which he hadn’t called or come by.   He would say:

-Hey, man, sorry I couldn’t come by for your birthday, heard it was good.  Hope you liked the present I got you. I’ll try to come by and see you later and eat some turkey with your mother and sister.  Especially since it’s Christmas.  Love you man. Bye.

She felt a pain in her throat and heart because she knew that her brothers’ dad would never come by later and celebrate Christmas with them.  Kristyn knew that it was her job to make her brother happy because all of his life the only thing he knew of his father was sadness and disappointment.  In that aspect they could both relate, neither of them had fathers.

-Hey, Kristyn, can you read me the story tonight? Please? I really want to hear about the turquoise mountains and the daffodils. Please, Please!

Kristyn’s brother would beg every night for her to read the story that she had been working on diligently every day. They were in the car driving to the store from Grandma Janice’s’ house.  She lived in a quiet, peaceful neighborhood with a girl down the street with a funny smell to her that Kristyn liked to ride bikes with.

-Hey, Grandma! Hey Grandma! Do you want to hear my story?

Ms. Potter continued talking. She was in a heated debate with Ms. Fleary over something way over Kristyn’s head.

–          I told him that if he is going to continue lying to Aaron then he needs to stop calling.  There is no point in him calling if he never comes by.

Ms. Potter paused waiting for Ms. Fleary’s reply, sifting through her mothers’ words to piece together her next argument.

-Well, I don’t think you have any right to kick his father out of Aaron’s life.  Just because you don’t get along with him doesn’t mean that Aaron doesn’t need a father in his life.

Kristyn sat in the back of the car with her brother listening to the argument. She waited for the right time to jump in, hoping that they would finally listen to her story.

–          Hey Grandma, do you want to hear about the turquoise mountains? I wrote a few more pages.

They never paused the argument but just told Kristyn to sit still and hush up until they were done talking.  The next day in school, she met up with her friends Caitlin and Rebecca in Show Choir class.

–          So, Kris how is the book going? What page are you on?

Kristyn replied in a satisfied voice, happy that her friends were interested in her intricate sixth grade life.

–          It’s going great. I just finished the chapter on Quellry and the mystical castle.

Throughout the rest of the day, Kristyn found herself writing in her homemade manuscript about the adventures of the twelve-year-old girl in Hawaii.  In Science class, she wrote a few pages and pretended to learn about physical science.  She didn’t care much about science for, she knew she wasn’t going to be a scientist when she grew up.  Kristyn nearly fell asleep in math class, dreading every time the teacher said ‘algebra’. She doodled in her manuscript the picture of the half man- half bird and read the first sixty pages over and over again.

The bell for the next class rang and Kristyn was overjoyed at the fact that it was time for literature, in which they were reading Harry Potter.  The only time she didn’t write in her manuscript was in literature when she was busy reading about the adventures of Harry Potter, who intrigued her more simply because they shared the same last name.

– Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

Later that day, when Kristyn finally got home from school, her little brother begged her again to read the story:

-Please, please Kris.!!! Please! Please!

She gave in and decided to read to him, because she didn’t want to be like everyone else and continuously lie to him and put things off. Kristyn laid on his tiny bed, located in her mothers room, although he was much older than six, and told him the story of the turquoise mountains, the daffodils, and Quellry.  It began:

-Once upon a time there was a girl who, at the age of twelve, took an airplane to Hawaii and ended up in a foreign country.

Kristyn stayed in his room into the wee hours of the morning, reading the story of Mariah Rezentes and the Deep Sea Magic, out of a homemade manuscript, traveling to Hawaii with the twelve year old girl and leaving her stressful twelve year old life behind.

-an ode to my childhood-


Published by Kristyn Potter

Founder of Left Bank Media. Editor of Left Bank Magazine. Copywriter. I write about music, and New York mostly.