On Writing – Part VIII

On Writing



Words dissemble, words be quick, words resemble walking sticks. Watch them, they will grow, watch them waiver so. I’ll always be a word man, better than a bird man


– Jim Morrison




It was 1974 and I was five years old.


I had walked the one and half blocks to my school, Calhoun Elementary, from the apartment where I lived with my family (my mother, my sisters Ann, Darcy and Raney, and my older Eric).


We lived at 1401 West 32nd Street, In Minneapolis (on the corner of 32nd and Girard).


There were many kids playing on the playground before the start of school.


At the North end of the playground between the school building and some storefronts that faced Lake Street, there was a small area that we called the “Tot Lot.”


On the Tot-Lot there were platforms raised off the ground, on the ends of telephone poles.


The whole Tot-Lot was made from wood, with long ramps leading up to the area where children would play, running around and climbing over them.


On one particular morning there were a couple of older boys playing at the Tot-Lot.


I was in kindergarten, but they knew my sisters, and I joined them for a little while before school started, and then I stayed with them after the bell rang.


We were all still in elementary school. I was just starting and they were ready to move on, but they were smoking.


The Tot-Lot was out of the view of the playground.


When the bell rang and the other kids went into the school building for the start of the day, the boys I was playing with told me to hang out a little while longer, they told me I did not need to go to class.


I stayed for a time. I do not remember how long.


When I finally decided I had to get to class I went inside.


My teacher, Mrs. Crandle, asked me why I was late.


I lied.


I told her that I had been at the dentist.


It was a private act of prevarication.


I was alone with it and my guilty feelings, though I expect that my teacher knew I was not telling the truth.


It was my first piece of fiction.


I gave it in spoken word.


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