One Time I Made up a Mosquito Called ZippyMcFee and I Have No Regrets

By Olivia Allen

In the relative scope of things, I have not been writing for a very long time. To be fair, I am only 20, so I have not exactly been doing anything for a particularly long time. I suppose 20 years seems like a lot. If you’ve worked somewhere for 20 years, or had the same hair color for 20 years then that is a substantial amount of time, but 20 years out of a lifetime is hopefully a small percentage. Anyway, to the topic at hand, and clearly 20 years is not a long enough time to learn to write about your chosen topic either, I have not been writing for a very long time. I will not tell you my life story here, if interested let me know and I’ll get to work on an autobiography (That was a lie, I have better things to do). Until my junior year of high school, I was going to be an actor, and then I took a playwriting class and found out I was also a writer. I am still an actor, but the kind who keeps theatre in her soul instead of attending a fancy conservatory. (Side note, if anyone would like to cast me in an all-girl version of Hamilton, I am up for that. Any role will do. Except Lee.)
So, I don’t know if all writers do this, or if I just like to torture myself, but sometimes I read over my old writing. “Oh, this is an important thing to do Olivia, it helps you learn and grow and blah, blah, blah”, you say. Yes. I get it. But here’s the thing. It. Is. So. Bad. At least to me. I look back at that dystopian novel I was writing in high school and think “What was I doing? Did I not know the definition of plot?” Even really recent stuff is hard. And herein lies the problem. If I cannot bear to read my own work, how could I possibly face writing it? So, I sit and dream of all the possible stories I could tell, but I don’t get up the nerve to face the blank word document *shudder*. And I start thinking that maybe I should just move to Florence and paint tourists on the streets. I would dye my hair blue, change my name to Louise, and own 20 cats. And that’s when I get up from the chair in the Barnes and Noble Starbucks and ask for another latte….
Very recently (yesterday as I write this) I finally started to write again after a looooong stretch of doubt. I am trying not to think about it too much, so as not to risk losing momentum. I do not feel qualified to give anyone advice on writing. At all. Ever. That being said, I do have some thoughts on why, I at least, think my old writing is so terrible. I’m sure you’ll read this and say, “Well obviously Olivia, did you just figure that out?”. Well just be quiet, I’m trying to be eloquent!
Sometimes when I do make the terrible mistake of opening an ancient document in my “writing projects” file, there are things I don’t hate. Sometimes there are even things I steal from my younger self. It’s possible, on further reflection, that she wasn’t all bad. Creative people have a reputation for being very hard on themselves, and though it is a generalization, it certainly applies to the selection that I know. I think it is because we carve out little bits of ourselves every time we create something, and we carve and carve until all that we are has been reshaped into our creation. Then time comes and does what it does and we’re rebuilt piece by piece and when we look back we can’t see ourselves anymore, just broken pieces, because we’re made of new stuff. Now, what was the very essence of our souls is a memory. Something nice to look at, but no longer a vital organ. Reference material. Something to laugh at. It’s a bit tragic. Unless we get very, very lucky. If we get very, very lucky then when we get put together again, spaces will be left for all of our broken pieces, and we will be patchwork people, the fabric of our creations holding in our souls.

June 26, 2017|Archive|

About the Author: Olivia Allen

Olivia is a recent graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder in creative writing and theater. She is an artist, actress, writer and self-proclaimed nerd.

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