We're almost done exploring the adventure-laden elementary school era of my childhood writing. Before we move on to angst-filled middle school, I have some remaining miscellany from fifth grade to share, including a couple of illustrated covers for book projects.
First off, I did get an early start on the angst in fifth grade for at least one piece of writing. In late 1985, I was assigned to write a haiku about my fears or hopes for 1986. Forget all those online lists and quizzes purporting to prove your legitimacy as a child of the 80s. This is the real deal:
Haiku About My Fears
Such a scary thought
Nuclear war is dreadful
It could kill us all
I also had less disturbing obsessions in fifth grade, such as Greek mythology. (On second thought, most of Greek mythology is pretty disturbing.) For what I imagine was a big final project for the year, I put together a pretty impressive report, complete with a cover depicting "Mount Olympus, home of the Greek gods":
You can see more photos of some of the inside pages of the report, with my commentary: title page, table of contents, first page, bibliography, about the author. Here's the text of that author bio, encapsulating me at age 11:
Lisa Eckstein is an official Tarheel, being born in North Carolina. She now lives in Acton and Sudbury, Massachusetts. Ms. Eckstein has written many stories, including Captain Bandorf's Treasure, the Flutterina series, and Nine Day's Journey in a Big Brown Truck. She spends her free time reading and being weird.
"Nine Day's Journey In A Big Brown Truck" is a rather tedious work of travel writing detailing a vacation my family took during the summer before fifth grade. It, too, has an illustrated and laminated cover. (I expect that lamination no longer plays such a large role in elementary education.)
We'll leave fifth grade with this coat of arms I designed for myself sometime that year. Despite my fears of nuclear war, I appear to have been a pretty upbeat kid:
Good Stuff Out There:
→ In the New York Times Opinionator blog, Perri Klass admits to suffering from The Plagiarism Jitters: "But I have found myself, more and more often in recent years, worrying about inadvertent plagiarism, sitting over my laptop late at night and Googling any particularly highfalutin metaphors or plangent turns of phrase."