Things I Wrote When I Was Fifteen…

I’ve been visiting a lot of elementary and middle schools lately to talk about writing, which turns out to be the secret, practically-full-time job of most middle grade writers.

I say “secret,” because when I first got¬†Deadweather and Sunrise¬†published, nobody told me that the only way kids will realize your book even exists is if you show up at their school with a PowerPoint presentation.

But it is, and so I do.

One of things I talk about is how I got my start: by writing humor pieces for my high school newspaper, starting with an article I wrote as a sophomore about how I couldn’t understand why, just once, Wile E. Coyote couldn’t catch, kill, and eat the Roadrunner.

A bunch of kids have asked if they can read the article, so here it is. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it good…but to be fair, it WAS written by a 15-year-old:

Roadrunner1985 2


Incidentally, the front page of that same issue is below, and it’s worth a look for a couple of reasons:

PretzNewsheader1985 2

First, do you see the pretzel in the upper left corner?

That was our mascot.

Our mascot was a pretzel.

We were The Pretzels.

We had “Pretzel Pride.”

The weirdest thing about it? Nobody in my high school thought it was weird.

Second…take a look at that headline over the lead article. See anything amiss?

Apparently, we were a little short in the “Pretzel Proofreading” department.

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12 Responses to Things I Wrote When I Was Fifteen…

  1. The Pretzels???? I have to laugh! But there are far worse or more embarrassing mascots, and you don’t have to worry about any Pretzel Anti-Defamation League coming after you or a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Pretzels giving you a hard time. Everybody loves pretzels, don’t they? You can’t really abuse a pretzel;I mean, devouring them is a compliment, right?
    The headline ,I agree, is a little embarrassing, however.
    Pretzel Pride!

  2. Monte says:

    You forgot “Pretzel Power.” I never thought it was weird either, until ESPN showed up to film a segment on strange high school mascots. Seems less odd when the Monroe Cheesemakers were just 20 minutes north of us.

  3. Geoff says:

    When I do school visits, I mention the Monroe Cheesemakers as evidence that no matter how bad you have it in life, things could always be worse.

  4. Brian Riese says:

    Oddly enough after many years of self abuse, i.e. partying too much, I remember this article. Thanks for the mental jarring. LOL

  5. You’re right, Geoff. None of us though it was weird at all. We were just proud to be Pretzels! Pretzel Power!

  6. A blast from the past! Mora Parriott was in charge of proof reading the headline btw…..

  7. Anonymous says:

    Receive . ??

  8. Geoff says:

    I’d forgotten all about “Pretzel Power…”

    Hi, Vicki! Nice byline! And, yeah, the proofreading buck stopped with Mrs. Parriott. God rest her sweet, kind, not-particularly-detail-oriented soul.

  9. Jon Fromi says:

    Let’s be fair. Mrs. Parriott was busy proctoring the yearbook staff, which is how we were allowed to twiddle our collective thumbs for three weeks a month before two or three days of paste-up (sans publisher, btw).

  10. Christopher Legel says:

    We were pretzels, AND our school colors were orange and black.

    After working professionally as a graphic designer for several years I am an instructor in a graphic arts program. I use the pretzel and school colors example in my design classes as an example of no matter how much you wish you could change it, you can’t go messing with a client’s logo and colors. Our HS principal once asked me to would design an award for the school, and I remember thinking what am I supposed to do with this combination?

    Thanks FHS for challenging me early ;-P

  11. Geoff says:

    Hi, Jon! I’d forgotten all about paste-up until I went back to look at the article and realized that any time I wanted to underline a word, I had to physically tear off a tiny piece of black strip (there’s a technical name for that black strip, right? I forget what it is) and place it underneath the word.

    It’s so much easier to just hit cntrl-U. But somehow less satisfying.

  12. Mikey says:

    Mr. Geoff Rodkey came to my elementary school last week and talked about

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