Friday, July 29, 2011

My First Book

In addition to my summer cleaning project at home, I have been helping my mother clean out the attic at my parents' place. This has been fun, as I've found boxes of "treasures" from my elementary, high school, and college days, and the two projects together have amounted to my own little version of "This Is Your Life."

Most of the finds have been humorous, such as my 80's prom dress. The dress was so hideous, my brother mistook it for a shower curtain when he carried the box containing the dress out of the attic. I remember I was trying to go for a Molly Ringwald "Pretty In Pink" look with the dress, but it didn't work out too well, as this taffeta and lace horror with pink and white polka dots did in fact look like a very ugly shower curtain. We got a good laugh out of it, as we did with the other dresses in the box, a frightening collection of bridesmaid and prom dresses that my sisters and I had worn over the years. One of them was uglier than the next, ranging from a filmy lavender number with cap sleeves to a red and white polka dot travesty that rivaled my own polka dot embarrassment. Apparently, we liked polka dots a lot back then.

My favorite find was in the box from my elementary school years. It was the first story I ever wrote, and I had completely forgotten about it. But, as soon as I saw it, I remembered being so proud of it at the time, and thrilled that I won second place in the story contest for our grade.

The book is called "It's A Dogworld After All," and, for some reason, I covered it in pink (again with the pink!) floral wallpaper.

It's about a group of dogs sailing around the world alone in the far off year of 2001.

At one point in the story, the dogs have a New Year's Eve party to usher in 2002.

I couldn't help but laugh that even though the party was supposed to be in 2001, I drew the partying dog as if he were at a 70s disco, and even gave him a garish gold chain.  I guess it never occurred to me back then that styles change. I also couldn't help but notice that my party guy has a cigarette in his paw. Again, times sure do change. I'm fairly certain a kid today would not draw it that way.

It was a lot of fun to see this book again, and it made me smile to realize that even back then, I wanted to write about dogs and animals. It almost seemed like a sign that even though I've definitely taken the long way around, I really am on the right track now.

We're supposed to have another hot and sticky weekend ahead, and I'm planning on another round of cleaning so I can be indoors and in the air conditioning. I'm hoping I will come upon some more fun discoveries from my little walk down memory lane.

I hope everyone has a great weekend! :)


  1. Fun post Julie. Love the book. The prom dress sounds classic. I bet there are a lot of Molly Ringwald-inspired prom dresses hiding in attics, dying to see the light of day.

  2. Sounds like an interesting time:) I find cleaning out my folk's attic also provides great inspiration for stories;)

  3. Yo were sure into the pink thing, at least the dogs escaped. They did, didn't they? :)

    Fun post!

  4. What a fun find! We bought our house from my in-laws and she left much in the attic (lucky us). It was fun finding my husband's and his siblings' school projects. We even found a couple of brand new (from the '60's) toys that she must have hidden up there to give at a birthday or Christmas.

  5. Ha! That's adorable. Is your disco dog saying "Boogie" while he dances? Hahaha.

    I remember being in the third grade and being told that I would likely live to see a new millennium, the year 2000! It was like I was going to live in some future sci-fi world...and I kind of am when I think about all the internet and technology stuff we have today.

    Fun post. Have a great weekend.

  6. That is so cool! What a great find. I remember writing stories in elementary and being so proud of them too! I wish I still had that kind of confidence. As for the prom dress - don't worry - we've all got one of those!

  7. @Tim, thanks! Yeah, I think you are right about the Molly Ringwald dresses LOL.

    @Mark, it was, and there is definitely a lot of inspiration in some of these finds.

    @Giggles, they did, no harm came to any dogs LOL. I can't believe I chose this horrid pink wallpaper to cover the book, I wonder where I even got it.

    @Laura, oh, how fun! We found a bunch of toys too. I bet those brand new toys would be worth a lot to collectors, wow.

    @LG, LOL, yes, he is saying Boogie ha ha. Yeah, it cracks me up to remember how we all thought the year 2000 would be back then. Funny to think no one could have guessed how it actually is with all the technology!

    @Abby, thanks so much! LOL, the 80s prom dresses really take the cake LOL.

  8. I love it! I don't think I have my first book. It was called Wesco ... about a horse. I love your illustrations.

    Keep cool. I finally had husband put the A/C in today. It's supposed to be hot here this weekend. Finally. The cats are loving it. They're both stretched out in front of the A/C. lol

  9. @Mary, thanks! Oh, I bet your Wesco book is fun. You made me laugh about the cats, you can always count on cats to find the most comfortable place in the house LOL.

  10. prECious!
    great artwork too!
    my first books were a series of surveys that we passed around junior high called "sign in please"
    thanks for the memory =)

  11. Isn't it COOL the things we can dig up when going through things?

    I think I'll ask my neighbors if I can go through THEIR attics. I'm having so much fun in mine.


  12. How fun! You and your sisters absolutely have to do something with those dresses. Brainstorm it and come up with something creative and crafty.

  13. Clean up time can be like going back in a time machine. It's fun to see where we once were. The dog book actually doesn't sound like a bad concept.

    Tossing It Out

  14. Hi Julie .. wonderful that the book was kept for all this time .. and welcome 2002 indeed ..great imagination .. dogs ruled in your house obviously!!

    Enjoy the weekend .. and more memorial discoveries .. looking forward to seeing them! Cheers Hilary

  15. Wonderful story about the book. These items are precious beyond words.

  16. What a good find, I love going through old things and the memories they evoke.


  17. Your first book is a hit! I hope you frame it.

  18. Such a great post! I love your Dogworld book. What a treasure! But I'd like to see a picture of that prom dress too...haha

  19. This is awesome! So glad you posted actual pictures of the pages/illustrations! I wrote very similar things, when I was a kid, including a very sappy "novella" about a self-centered knight who changes his ways for a beautiful damsel in distress.

  20. cool! Thinking back, I believe my first story was called, "Terror Castle." It garnered an award during Right to Read Week.

    Funny how polka dots and the color pink were the hot items in the 80's, which I was a part of as well.

    Glad I stopped by. I'm a Buckeye Writer also ;)


  21. @Tara, thanks! Oh, those junior high books sound fun LOL.

    @Bryce, ha ha ha ha. That's a good idea about the neighbors, I may move on to that next. Thanks about the book!

    @Carol, we probably should have given the dresses to a costume shop, they'd be perfect for that LOL. I think my mom got rid of the box now though, they are gone for good.

    @Lee, it really is like a time machine, no question. Very fun. :)

    @Hilary, thanks! I actually dedicated the book to my own dog at the time, there was a very formal dedication on the first page LOL. I hope you are enjoying the weekend too!

    @Retired Knitter, I totally agree, thanks so much.

    @Yvonne, I love it too, thanks.

    @LynnMarie, oh, that's a great idea, maybe I will do that! :)

    @Trisha, thanks! Ha ha I should burn all pictures of me in that dress, they could be used for blackmail. So embarrassing LOL.

    @Laura, oh, the novella sounds fun. It really is great to go back and see what we wrote as kids, thanks so much.

    @Elliot, hi, thanks so much for coming by! It's great to meet a fellow Buckeye and 80s teen. Thanks!

  22. Hi, Julie. Thanks so much for your comment on my blog. It got me over here to read this wonderful post. This is my kind of nostalgia. I have a few old (VERY old) stories from my youth that have survived, but nothing as good as what you have here! This is delightful. 2002. I don't think I even had a glimmer of a thought of such a distant year in the Fifties when I was a teenager and, like you, was writing stories.

    And the prom dress--how hilarious that your brother thought it was a shower curtain!

    What wonderful memories you have to draw on for your writing. I would go for the humor. It is much needed in today's world!

    We're sticky here also in Virginia, and I'm longing at the moment for some of that dry desert air from where I grew up (in Utah).
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

  23. What a fabulous little book. How funny that you drew the dog with a chain and cigarette. I love finding things like that. Priceless!

    Hope your weekend wasn't too hot. It's quite a moderate temperature here in the UK [that means it's chilly most of the time.]

  24. @Ann, you're welcome for the comment, my pleasure! So glad you enjoyed the post, thanks so much. I'm still chuckling about the shower curtain LOL. Hope you get some relief in Virginia soon too, I would definitely welcome a shot of that dry desert air reight now.

    @Rosalind, thanks! I really am so glad I found this, couldn't believe it after all these years. It's strange that you are chilly there, seems nearly everyone is having one extreme or the other!

  25. Julie! What a great book. You are awesome, my new friend. Love the cig. Ahahahahaha I had a prom dress just like yours. UGH! Too funny. Thanks for the visit and comment over at my place. I'm gonna love following you. (((hugs)))

  26. haha... "it's a dog world after all." great title.

  27. @Robyn, thanks!!! You're awesome too and I'm so glad we met up. Hugs back to you! :D

    @Aguilar, thanks so much! :)

  28. I love that your family kept everything! We had 7 people in a fairly small space, so everything was booted as soon as there was no need for it. I was a bit of a pack rat, though, so some things survived in my room. That book is fantastic! And I had to laugh about the Pretty in Pink inspired dress. I just wanted to be able to make my own dresses.

  29. @Shannon, thanks! It's kind of amazing the things my family kept, it seems for 40 years everything just went into that attic. I always wanted to make my own Pretty in Pink dress too LOL.

  30. @Margo, hi! Thank you, I'm so glad you liked it. Thanks for coming by! :)

  31. You were so imaginative, even back then. That's a very creative, fun book. I love the 70's garb too.

  32. @Robyn, thank you! I agree, I love the 70s garb LOL.


Thank you for your comments!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.