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Looking back on my teenage years, I have to say they really weren't all that bad. Oh, sure, I was afflicted with the same sorts of problems that any smart, sardonic, a more than a little dweebish teen has: The craving for acceptance from the largely ambivalent popular clique, the unrequited crush on a girl who consistently played the "let's be friends" card, despite (or, I suspect now, at least partially because of) my unceasing attempts to win her over, and of course, the Three "A"s: Angst, Acne, Attitude.

Be that as it may, I was also blessed with a clan of good, good friends, who supported me through some awkward times (and I returned the favor as well), and the benefit of a school, and teachers, that allowed my intellect free range -- something you don't always get in the high school years. And I also had one other thing: the growing realization that I wanted to be a writer. Unlike so many of my friends, who faced the future with only a vague idea of what they wanted to do, I had a plan -- not a very good one, to be sure (The Plan: Become a writer, write the Great American Novel, retire at age 25), but it was something.

What we have here are a few bits of my early writing. I don't know that I would call this stuff here good writing (I thought so at the time, of course, but now my self-critical faculties are somewhat more developed), but I think it could be worse, and in any event, the hallmarks of my writing style (the humor, the edge of sentimentality, the facile ability, bordering on glibness) are already there. I enjoy reading this early stuff, because I see a direct line from it to what I write today; For better or worse, my writing style seemed hard-wired in from the beginning.

Most of this stuff was written my senior year of high school, which was 1987. Yep, I'm getting on up there. The picture at the left, by the way, is the one on my high school yearbook page (small school. We each got a page).

Here's what we have so far -- I may add more as time goes on.

Ice Machine -- A science fiction mystery story I began in high school and finished in college. It's got the usual stuff: spaceships, murders, a wisecracking hero, and a tough-as-nails dame. Man, I'm so cliché I could kill myself.

The Statue -- A man finds a statue of a nude guy in his front yard. Hilarious Hi-Jinx ensue! I call this one my "sitcom story." Read it and discover why.

Suburban Excursion -- The way I figure it, every teenage boy should write an overly-ambitious song cycle about the numbing influence of the suburbs on three generations of Americans. Here's mine.

Chapel Talk -- Each senior in my high school gave a speech to the entire school on whatever subject he or she chose. This is what I chose.

-- JS 

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