10-year-old me, what can I say?

by Randy Gingeleski

3 minutes to read

My first-grade teacher, who I remained close with throughout elementary school, added me on Facebook.

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At ten years old I was dead set on becoming a fantasy writer. That’s when I wrote The War of Lord Capani. I was just… so different.

I knew you have to accept a Facebook request like this. But beyond that I wasn’t sure what to do.

If we meet, get coffee or whatever, I think I’d disappoint. I was supposed to become an author of Stephen King magnitude.

When do I write now? Blog posts (hello). Software documentation.

Never fiction. At ten years old I wanted to tell stories about imaginary characters. Now I struggle to tell my own.

This led me to a question I’d yet to ask myself. Several times, a friend and I have chatted about “what would your 17-year-old self think if they could see you now?”

What would my *10-year-old* self think?

What do we have in common? I remember this internal dialogue I had to express on paper. Again, at the time it came from my imagination, now it seems to come from consciousness. The human struggle. 😏

I put so much effort into The War of Lord Capani. My younger self would be thrilled to know it got published.

I’d break it to him that the book sold 200 copies. The publishing company was shady. His/my second book would do much worse.

More people will read these words than will ever read those books combined.

Not only will you not write fiction, you’ll hardly ever read it. You still get books for Christmas but not one of them was fiction this year.

He’ll ask if he/I/we now write for a living. Now obsessed with the capitalist pursuit, I’ll smirk and explain it’s difficult to do that. Most that do write for the Huffington Post or some other unrespectable outlet, living in poverty.

What you do at the moment is engineer software for underwater vehicles, I’ll say. You wrote about robots so much and now - kind of - write robots.

He’ll say that sounds really cool then I’ll emphasize the word ‘sounds’. Whether I extol the quiet desperation of cubicle life is TBD.

Maybe he asks why my face is scruffy or I have a tan in the winter or my back is relatively big. I’ll give an overview of self improvement, and girls, then explain his chubbiness.

“Protein, carbs, fat - pick two and make one of them protein.” He won’t get it.

I haven’t even gotten into the trouble he faced at 17, over computer mischief. How much duress he caused our parents. Mom’s tears. At least there was the upside of cybersecurity skills.

I know one, maybe two, people from grade school that have changed as much as me. Everyone else you could predict how they’d end up.

10-year-old Randy wouldn’t like me. I’m not sure about my first-grade teacher either.

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