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Humble Beginnings

Humble Beginnings

As a writer, there are a lot of different subjects that I get asked to write pieces on. One of the most common subjects I get asked to write about is, “What is your earliest memory?”

I don’t really have one early memory in particular that I feel inclined to write about, but I do know that I had a very interesting early childhood. In my 14 years of living on this planet, I have been able to piece together the following summary of my first few years from various anecdotes shared by my parents and relatives.

From pretty early on, it was clear that I was no ordinary baby. I would spend all afternoon sitting on my playmat and flipping through book after book after book, trying to decode the hidden meaning of the pages, but mostly losing focus and looking at the pictures. Then, when I was 3, I finally learned how to read, and I kept on reading everything I could possibly read, from books to signs to cereal boxes. My aunt recalls that when I was 4, I visited her and my uncle, and they came to our hotel one day. We all went swimming in the pool, and I said something like this: “Look at that sign over there! It says, ‘Emergency Evacuation Plan’!” My aunt had been dating my uncle for a while, but that, she said, was the first sign that told her she was going to be in a crazy family. Funny enough, it was an actual sign.

When I was about 5, I learned how to hold a marker, and, being inspired by the literature that I took in on a daily basis, started to write and illustrate my own stories. I filled notebook after notebook after notebook with my insane creations. It was unlike anything my preschool teachers had ever seen, and, frankly, they must have gone to Ivy League schools, because they somehow figured out what to do with me.

The bottom line? I haven’t changed a bit. As my mother says, I am a creative spirit.

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Jigsaw Puzzle (poem)

The world is like a jigsaw puzzle,
Except it’s bigger than any jigsaw puzzle
That has ever been created.
Intricate and complex,
Made up of 7 billion pieces.
Every piece fits into the puzzle differently.
Some pieces click right into the puzzle.
Those are usually the first pieces
That get put together.
With other pieces, their place is a bit less obvious
Than the first, clicky pieces.
Some pieces are so obscure,
Nobody knows where they go!
Those pieces have more jagged edges than the others,
And it seems like they may never fit into the puzzle.
But when their places are finally found,
The puzzle makes a picture,
A marvelous picture,
That could never have been put together
If the jagged-edged, zigzag-y pieces
Were never included
With the rest
Of the puzzle.

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Random camp-related story, chapter 1

Hey readers!
I’ve been working on a story about camp for some time now, and I have been DYING to share it with you guys! So, without further ado, Maisie stops rambling and the story commences.

Chapter 1
My name is Dia Valdez and I am a bully magnet. Why? I seriously don’t know, although I could explain a few hypotheses I have about why tormenting me is a source of joy to many people I’ve encountered over the course of my lifespan. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a voracious reader. My mom’s been trying to read every novel I’ve ever read in the same order that I’ve read them, and I read so fast, she’s only halfway through a novel I read in the third grade!
My dream is to become a famous author. I know that sounds totally cliche, but it’s true. I don’t mean to brag or anything, but my grandmother says that I was “born with a gift.” The point is, I’m never seen without a book, a notebook, and/or a laptop at any point in time.
I also have an obsession with personality psychology, which is the classification of people as either introverts or extroverts. Contrary to popular belief, introverts are not necessarily shy. They just have more difficulty interacting with and relating to people than ambiverts (people who are halfway between introverts and extroverts) and extroverts. Introverts may enjoy reading, writing, science, and other academic subjects. Other introverts may be insanely talented artists. The defining characteristic of an introvert, however, is if they feel exhausted after hanging out with a group of other people. I am a complete and total introvert. After our family’s holiday parties, I go up to my room and take a nap. People are SO tiring. Extroverts, on the other hand, get their energy from being with other people. Extroverts are generally less self-aware and more likely to take risks, such as jumping off of a high diving board or rock climbing. Extroverts can be engaging, spontaneous performers, athletes, or supermodels. Making new friends comes more easily to extroverts because of their energetic, never-boring personalities.
Because I’ve dedicated my life to my misanthropic pursuits, I am incredibly antisocial. I have a couple of friends that I hang out with in school, but they only come over for my birthday parties that my mom insists on throwing each year. I’ve never really been close friends with anyone other than the people I’ve met on WriterWorld, which is the equivalent of Facebook or Twitter but for aspiring writers. Along with the standard status updates, you can also post stories and people can read them, “like” them, or give feedback on other people’s stories. You can also have group chats over IM or video chat. I have three best friends on WriterWorld: Jade from Utah, Mia from New York, and Leon from California. And they were the first ones I told when my summer plans were foiled.

Today’s date is April 27th. It seemed as if it was a normal dinner. I was sitting at the table, trying to read under the table, my mom and dad were sitting across the table from each other, and my little brother, Archie was sitting opposite me. My parents and Archie are all extroverts, which can be really annoying when I just want to sit by myself and read or write.
My mother, the biggest extrovert in the Valdez clan, starts the dinnertime conversation. “Summer is right around the corner, family!” Mom pointed out. “So, tonight’s topic of discussion is summer plans. Archie, let’s start with you. You’re going to the town sports camp for the whole summer.”
“YES!” Archie exclaimed. “I love sports camp!”
Over the summer I usually go to SMART camp. SMART stands for Science, Math, and Art. Basically, what you do at SMART camp is you choose electives for the entire day, such as biology, chemistry, ceramics, calculus, trigonometry, silk painting, and other academic and arts-related classes. It’s pretty much introvert paradise.
“Am I going to SMART camp again?” I asked my parents.
“Dia, while we are incredibly proud of your ability to get straight A’s, score incredibly well on standardized tests, and your beautiful writing, we feel that you need more social interaction.” My dad said.
“You can’t possibly have fun hiding in your bedroom and writing all day. For that reason, we are not sending you to SMART camp for the whole summer.” Mom said.
“WHAT?!?!?!?! Then what am I going to do this summer?” I wondered.
“We’re sending you to Camp Driftwood for a month. It’s a lovely sleepaway camp up in Maine.” My dad explained.
I instantly felt all of the color drain from my face. “Sleepaway camp?” I asked, just to be sure this wasn’t a joke.
“Yes, sleepaway camp. It’s the best option for children such as you who don’t get enough social interaction.” My mom confirmed. Then, she passed me a brochure. “Read this.”
“Do you mind if I read it aloud? It helps the information sink in better.” I asked.
“Sure.” My dad said. “Go ahead.”
“‘Camp Driftwood. A place where children ages 8-16 can gain independence, be free, and discover who they truly are.’” I read off of the cover of the brochure. I turned the page and started reading.
“‘At Camp Driftwood, we offer a wide variety of activities. We have sports, including, but not limited to, soccer, archery, ultimate frisbee, football, basketball, baseball, field hockey, gaga ball and gymnastics. We have arts and crafts, theatre, music, and dance. We also have a lake in which campers can swim, water ski, canoe, kayak, sail, and go tubing. Our youngest campers receive swim lessons twice a week. Special events at Camp Driftwood include Color War, camping trips, and field trips to Funville Amusement Park.’”
“Sounds absolutely lovely to me!” Mom said.
And with that, I left the table and cried.


My alarm clock blared. I rubbed my eyes and I checked the time. My clock read: 5:00 am. I had to wake up early this morning because the Camp Driftwood bus left from downtown Boston at 7:30 am and I had to be there by 6:30 am. I got dressed, brushed my hair and teeth, and went down to the kitchen to grab a quick breakfast. My parents were already in the kitchen, dressed and ready to go.
“Today’s the big day!” Mom said in a singsong-y voice. “My baby’s going to sleepaway camp!”
Dad ruffled my hair. “My little girl is growing up so fast.” He said.
“Oh, stop it.” I said, trying to look excited.
“Dia, when I was a boy, sleepaway camp was my favorite part of the year.” Dad said proudly. I checked my watch. “It’s 5:45. We should go.” I said.
Mom checked her watch, too. “Well, would you look at that! We need to be at the bus stop soon!”
I walked out the door, leaving the world as I knew it behind.