The (sick-as-a) Dog Days of Summer
My Natural Born Talent, Part Two

My Natural Born Talent. Let Me Show You It.

Hey! Remember when my mom gave me that big stack of embarrassingly preshus mementos from my childhood? And I was all gung-ho with the scanner for a few days there, on a gleeful stretch of self-mockery, until I guess I got distracted by something shiny (or maybe my toenail polish, or wondering where I got this bruise from, or the construction of that pneumonic burrito delivery device) (I mean, have you tried applying for all the necessary patents for shit like that? It's a bureaucratic nightmare.) and...wait, what was I talking about again?

Oh right! The scanning and the bag o' relics were promptly forgotten about for awhile there. Until today! 


Now, I've already shown you my very, very first attempt at short-story writing, but this little book...well, this was EPIC. This was my MAGNUM OPUS. This was a coloring book my six-year-old self procured during a family trip to Arizona, but each picture faced a blank page, designed for you to write a story or poem or something about the picture. (The pictures were by artist Ettore DeGrazia, and I believe this was purchased at his gallery's gift shop, where I was suddenly struck with the realization that I WAS AN ARTIST AND MUST CREATE ART, THEREFORE SOMEBODY BETTER BUY ME THIS COLORING BOOK AND THOSE COLORED PENCILS RIGHT THIS MINUTE BUT MOM I NEEEEEEEED THEM.)

Judging by the range of handwriting abilities, I worked on this thing for YEARS. Later pictures are written in cursive, while my earliest attempts were...well. MOAR LIEK DIS:

Click to embiggen. You know, in case you'd like uh closer look at all those butiful frieworks. 


Or that graet and lovly oringe horse! Otherwise you might be forgetting this time that is not to be forgot. 

The green pencil doesn't scan very well, so here's a translation:


Jesus!!! (The most important!)

Colors. Beuty!

This is

I wish you
could always
see such

(The End)

I distinctly remember going back to put in those extra exclamation points and MOST IMPORTANT! caveat out of Protestant guilt because some of the pictures seemed possibly kind of Catholic


The Christmas story, according to a highly religious first grader. Jesus, God Son, was born this one time and he will not ever again be born, but we will still have Christmas which will be like the day Jesus was born only we will not have him born. Got it? Good. Now gimme some presents already. 


In my own pre-politically-correct defense here, the name of the painting ACTUALLY IS "Dream Horses and Lovely Indians." However, I cannot explain why I the consistently misspelled "lovly" all those other times and also why I was telling stories in my lame valley girl style already: They are sitting there like, "I wish something would happen, like I dunno, dream horses or some shit, like, OMG, look up, LOL!"


(Actually, not really. There are quite a few more pages, in which I attempted to take a more literary approach to "real" story writing, with actual named characters and varied narrator voices. Also: a talking mule. I don't know either, but I am sure as hell going to inflict it on the Internet-reading public anyway.)



I'm still trying to figure out how the Butiful! Bats! and dream horses integrate into the baby Jesus narrative.


This makes me feel much better about my own early literary attempts, all of which started with "Hello, my name is..." Seriously.


OK, I just about wet myself laughing at this. I wish I could formulate a more, um, mature, comment than this, but seriously: DREAM HORSES! OMFG!

Jessica V

OH. MY. GOD. Can't. Breathe. For the Laughing.

Awesome...just awesome.

Sprite's Keeper

Whenever I'm reading a story, flying horses usually make a cameo too..
Doesn't help that Thomas Edison book I'm currently struggling through. Or maybe it does..


I used to live in Tucson so I've been to the DeGrazia gallery a lot- even met the guy. I'm a little surprised that I don't have one of these books as well. It's totally down the alley of my kiddom.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

I find your narrative to be perfectly well suited to the dream horses and indians. Lovly indeed.

(And I'm with TwoBusy... The inclusion of the Bible stories is a little baffling.)


Nice work!

Perhaps the talking mule was a holdover from the Balaam talking donkey story in Sunday School.

The details are sketchy but I seem to remember a felt board situation.


Ooh, maybe Dream Horses = early inspiration for SPARKLECORN! Who knew, you have that book to thank! :)

The last page made me just about spit out my water with laughing...Yeah, those Indians, why don't they ever look up?? Oh well, maybe NEXT YEAR. (j/k, obvs)


I had the exact same coloring book when I was a kid...probably purchased from the same place as I grew up in Tucson. I don't think I actually wrote the stories though, I was a lazier artist than you were.

Momnivore's Dilemma

will a future post include badly written high school poetry?

shit, amy, you could hold a contest...lmao...


@TwoBusy- Obviously they were separate short stories to be included in the anthology. The Jesus story ended at "The End."

Why! Question! The Lovly!

(I am so totally kidding. I'm just as confused as you are. ;) )


There is a Bible story about a talking donkey! Maybe that's where you get it. Here's a super duper link:

Greg S.

pnuemonic? Is that some sort of air-powered memory device?

(A pneumatic Chipotle delivery system would be awesome, though.)


The green pencil part sounds like some Sufjan Stevens lyrics.

Elizabeth @ Table for Five

I think JB is right! The, like, DREAM HORSES were the inspiration for Sparklecorn! Indians, look up!

OMG, laughing.


wow, so it's true. You really are born with it. And you're one of the few that actually gets to do "it" for a living. I'm jealous. I have $4736.56 worth of creative supplies gathering dust. Ebay is the devil's sidekick.


How come I don't have this shit in my memory box? Damn. This is goldmine stuff, Amy. And what is WRONG with those Indians? Why don't they LOOK UP?!?


I think your coloring skills and writing speak of a true artist.

When I was in 3rd or 4th grade, I wrote a story and showed it to my mom. She thought it was very clever and since she worked for the LOCAL NEWSPAPER she was able to get it printed. Yes - a published writer while just a wee child in elementary school. I didn't tell her for years that it was a Looney Toons cartoon that I basically rewrote word for word.


I just found boxes (plural) of pictures and stories, etc, from my very awkward childhood and will definitely have to dedicate a series of posts to them. Thank you for the inspiration!


This is definitely, infinitely the funniest thing in the world! I wish I could see the Little You declaiming it in front of the family! I think I'll be repeating parts of the poems in my head all day. SOOOO unbelievably cute!


"Mary, the mother of Jesus, God['s] son, is lovely [sic]." Nicely punctuated, Little Amy!


It is hard for me to spell things incorrectly on purpose. It angers the demons in my head!


It is hard for me to spell things incorrectly on purpose. It angers the demons in my head!


And my original comment was lost, so now I sound like a crazyperson, responding to my own comments that no longer exist. Nothing to see here!


I visited Degrazia's studio too!! Back in 1980! I still have a magnet on my fridge and a (woo-hoo) personalized autographed print from the artist himself. He was there that day. I was very impressed. I told my Mom that I had never met a "real life" artist before. Ha!! Love the story!

The comments to this entry are closed.