Thursday, December 11, 2008


When I was little, I was always writing something - but starting when I was around ten or so, I spent an inordinate amount of time writing a novel called The Purple Cow. It was known in the family as "Jenny's bestseller" - "Where's Jenny?" "She's in her bedroom working on her bestseller."

(There was no ironic freight to the usage, but neither was there anything delusional - it was just always my life ambition to write a trashy novel a.k.a. bestseller, an ambition I have slightly reluctantly given up as I realize that I have missed the moment in life when I might have actually written my Upper Manhattan animal shapeshifter urban fantasy...)

I have just unearthed the box with the novel in it - it is in a green plastic binder, both the original manuscript and a partially typed version - I cannot resist scanning and posting the first page of the typed version. I am guessing it was drafted when I was ten or eleven and typed up a year or so later!

Hmmm, I cannot spare the time right now to do a further selection, though I have slightly mesmerized myself by looking at the middle stretch of pages and I do think I'll redact some of this stuff later on. The book is episodic rather than arc-like in structure, but the main central episode involves a book-writing competition that everyone gets involved in, with charts and calculations! I definitely recognize the person who now likes to make to-do lists and training schedules - really this was an utterly demented project...

NB I learned to type because we only had two cartridges for our TI-99/4A - Munchman and the Touch Typing Tutor!


  1. This has a hilarious number of numbers! "there were six people" sets the theme, with seven cars, five acres, $100,00 (from the labor union?), $100 a week, families of four, of six, three others . . . I'd say either you loved enumeration, or you'd been reading lots of young fiction that was surreptitiously trying to teach you math!

  2. I know! I loved enumeration (and still do - the list is one of my favorite literary devices), and I loved math, but also it did not seem real to me unless I had a very precise idea about it! I have NO idea what I was thinking re: the Labor Union, BTW! PErhaps if I read further into the manuscript it will be illuminated...

  3. The enumeration is tres CRIPPLED DETECTIVES!

  4. The seven cars was the best moment for me, the way it's so casually tossed in there at the end. What fun!

    When I was that age I was attempting to write a novel that was like Agatha Christie with some Hardy Boys-style fisticuffs. It was nowhere near as sophisticated.

  5. Good find!

    I dimly recall a long-ago news feature item on someone who did enter contests and had winnings that approximated full-time job earnings....