I was a dreamy kid

Adrian Fogelin
My sister Claudia is the one in pink. I’m the one in blue holding my favorite doll, Dido.

I got notes on my report card that said things like, “Adrian needs to concentrate more.”

If I brought a hat, and an umbrella, and a lunch box to school, I brought home the hat and the umbrella… or the lunch box and hat… or just the umbrella… or the umbrella and a dead butterfly I found when I was walking home… or just the dead butterfly.

What was I thinking?

Most of the time I wasn’t. I was imagining, making up stories about, what if…?

Growing up the three things I wanted most were: 1. a dog, 2. a canopy bed, and 3. a diary.

I didn’t get the dog, because if I got a dog my sister and brother would each want one, too. I didn’t get the canopy bed because my sister and I shared a bunk bed and the top of the canopy wouldn’t have made a good bed for her. But I did get a diary.

In fact, I got one every year, each with a little gold key — which was good since I had always lost the key from the year before. At first I started entries with, “Dear Diary,” because that was considered good etiquette when addressing your diary.

Then the Beatles arrived on the scene — if you don’t know about the Beatles, they were the hot boy-band of the 1960s: John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

George Harrison The Beatles
George Harrison of The Beatles

I liked George. After that, my entries started, “Dear George.”

But no matter who I wrote to, I’d start out strong in January and peter out about a third of the way through the year, which was okay, since by then I’d lost the key.

I didn’t figure out until later that my mother kept giving me diaries because she was a writer herself.

If she’d been a dog trainer I might have gotten that dog, but as it turned out, having a mother who was a writer was a good thing for a future writer.

At our house, there were always piles of manuscript pages on the kitchen counter, or the arm of the couch, or on the ironing board. On top of the pile was a pencil for crossing out words and writing in new ones.

Because of my mother, I got to see books before they were books. Because of my mother, writing books seemed like a normal thing to do.

I’ve always written stories and poems. Like the diaries, they didn’t always get finished, but they always got started. I’ve always been a good starter. Read more…