MetaTalktail Hour: Mefite Juvenilia November 23, 2019 4:51 PM   Subscribe

This weekend's topic is from J.K. Seazer: What art or other self-expression did you do as a kid? Angsty poetry? Steamy slash fiction? Garage bands? Cartoons? Minecraft servers? Tell us all about it!
posted by LobsterMitten to MetaFilter-Related at 4:51 PM (63 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I wrote a 1-act play imitating the style of Eugene Ionesco. I was also really into constructed languages, like Esperanto. I worked on setting up my own for a while, translated the lyrics of "Shout" by Tears for Fears into it, got no further.
posted by escabeche at 5:04 PM on November 23 [8 favorites]


I created elaborate houses designed to kill-by-misery Sims versions of the kids in my class who were mean to me.
posted by phunniemee at 5:08 PM on November 23 [12 favorites]


I did ballet as a 6-7 yr old. And I played viola for my junior high orchestra. I no longer know either of these skills but I have fond memories.
posted by Fizz at 5:17 PM on November 23 [1 favorite]


Oh man, I have never been particularly artistic (in the sense of talented at art) but I went through phases with lots of things. I really loved designing house layouts and elaborate gardens - on preview, mine were unfortunately not deadly.

My most beloved childhood art memory though was a bunch of paper dolls that were mostly made by my mom. I had a whole shoebox full - just regular paper, not cardstock or anything sturdy, but she would dutifully draw and cut out pretty much anything I wanted. This would have been pre-kindergarten? My mom was, and continues to be, incredible. I bet she would tell you they were lame, but I have very fond memories of elaborate paperdoll games.
posted by the primroses were over at 5:22 PM on November 23 [2 favorites]


Calligraphy and I got pretty good on the soprano recorder.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 5:27 PM on November 23


I wrote tons of stuff when I was a kid. A few examples:
*spy journal per Harriet the Spy
*biweekly neighborhood newspaper the summer I was 11–interviews with neighbors about their dogs and gardens, classified ads, news from our block, puzzles, etc
*too many poems and short stories to count
*a memoir from the point of view of our dog
posted by bookmammal at 5:31 PM on November 23 [7 favorites]


I wrote some decent poetry as a teen, as far as such things go. Then I got older, and stopped doing it. I regret stopping then at this point in my life, but it seems like such a huge hill to climb to get back where I was.
posted by mollweide at 5:45 PM on November 23 [1 favorite]


Surrealist flyers! Pretty good slam poetry! Mercifully brief talentless hip-hop phase! Weird music I couldn't convince anyone to play!
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:51 PM on November 23 [1 favorite]


I arrived at the concept of fanfic by myself; there was internet, but I was not able to use the web enough to realize that what I was doing was a thing I could share. I just saw it as a fun way to practice writing. I wrote up the adventures of my Star Wars roleplaying group, and ... oh my poor mother, I showed it to her. (She was so kind; she gently said, "Your writing is good. You're better than this.") But I maintain that, at the very least, my fic fragments about the then-unknown mother of the Skywalker twins were better than what Lucas eventually put in the prequels.

I was also a terrible artist at the time, but it gave me a lot of comfort. It is embarrassing to see the enormous level of skill that teens seem to have these days compared with what I was doing at their age.

In middle school band, I played percussion generally, moving to the xylophone and glockenspiel. I picked it up out of spite because I was given to understand that girls did not play it. The memory is not embarrassing, except for how extremely sports-level hardcore I could be about marching band. And for the time I entered a solo performance competition with a rendition of "Ashokan Farewell" on the glockenspiel, which, as a reminder, sounds like this. Not a resounding success with the judge.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:12 PM on November 23 [4 favorites]


I will always love that goddamn song
posted by lazaruslong at 6:13 PM on November 23


Oh, and constructed languages too. I perpetually had one half-finished and in-progress, and never stopped tinkering for long enough or got enough details nailed down to actually write something in it.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:14 PM on November 23


Ashokan Farewell, not Africa on the glockenspiel
posted by lazaruslong at 6:14 PM on November 23 [2 favorites]


Garage bands, good lord. My band played its last regular gig in fall of 1991, plus a one-off in May of '93 when the singer was getting married, and there are still a few web fan pages devoted to to us.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:15 PM on November 23 [4 favorites]


I used to write really bad stories and poetry.

Also, made little scenes and elaborate doll houses out of fabric handkerchiefs spread on the floor for each room and painted cardboard furniture on top.

I also used to buy dolls, my little ponies and other toys from garage sales and church fairs and give them makeovers, with paint, hair cuts, sewing a new wardrobe, tweaking any electronics to make different noises or work differently (or just fixing broken mechanical or electronic internals).
posted by lollusc at 6:38 PM on November 23 [1 favorite]


I wrote 40-page novella when I was in third grade. Apparently this is not something that most third graders do, so they started pulling me out of class once a week to do a one-on-one workshop with a student from the high school creative writing program. Gifted and talented programs were pretty rudimentary in those days.I won various awards for fiction, nonfiction and poetry writing along the way and wound up double majoring in creative writing as an undergraduate.it's weird, because I drifted away from creative writing after undergrad in the same way that I drifted away from producing music, which was the other major creative outlet for me all through grade school and high school.
posted by drlith at 6:43 PM on November 23 [4 favorites]


I'm wracking my brain and not really thinking of anything creative that I did as a kid. I just watched a lot of movies and read a lot of bad sci-fi novels.,
posted by octothorpe at 6:51 PM on November 23 [2 favorites]


Basketball, swimming, diving, acting, jewel thief, chess, language, D&D, scouting, ohhh, that's age 11...and T.V. and my first poem at 7, in that book alot of us made in school during the 70's.
My first story was ' The Further Adventures of Boba Fett.' 0ct.1978. He was a stormtrooper with Solo and both, ironically, escaped the imperial base but parted ways after chewy caught Fett trying to steal red crystalline for light sabers. In mine, Solo won the Falcon from a droid named beato-dev. Slave 1 was named geana.
posted by clavdivs at 7:16 PM on November 23 [3 favorites]


When I was 8 or so, I produced an edition of woodcuts in the printshop run by my mom & stepdad - an image of ducks in a pond. Then I entered one impression in a wildlife art competition, got it archivally framed and everything.

One year I was given a whole bunch of rodent skeletons (my neighbor was an anthropologist who was busy digging up middens.) I carefully applied hot wax to them - red and white - until I had something that looked pretty close to carcasses, and I incorporated them into my playmobil lion pride as the prey. I set up gory dioramas all summer.

In summer, when all my stepsiblings gathered together in the woods, we would sing together at night, in our respective tents, until we fell asleep. I don’t remember singing with them at any other time.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 7:18 PM on November 23 [4 favorites]


Yes. As a kid. As a kid is how I wrote fanfic. That was definitely the last time I did it.

I also did a lot of music stuff back then that I don't do now, and I miss it regularly but I have no idea how to get back to that being a thing in my life without a network of other people involved the way it was when I was a kid. Like I don't have the during-daytime-hours time to take up music lessons now without it being really disruptive and I've tried to teach myself but it is not really the same at all.
posted by Sequence at 9:10 PM on November 23 [3 favorites]


I drummed on everything at all times. Tables, backs of chairs, tapping my thighs with my fingers, etc. It drove a lot of people nuts. I still do it if I'm not really paying attention. I started playing the drums for real when I was 9, but it was too loud for my sense of shyness. I liked drumming on stuff quietly to myself, not rattling the walls so that everyone could hear.

Plus, once I started playing an instrument (and then others, when I was a teenager), people were always asking if I was in a band yet, and if I was writing any songs. Too much pressure.

Mostly, I daydreamed. I had a lot of big ideas, but frequently neither the skill nor the motivation to actually see them to fruition. So I'd just daydream about designing spaceships, or weird demonic creatures, or undersea palaces. I really liked imagining how things would fit together, or how machines and inventions might work (in another life I might have been an engineer). I think that kind of idle fantasy should totally count as a form of creativity.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 9:37 PM on November 23 [7 favorites]


Spent a lot of time drawing, especially in school when bored out of my mind. I do it rarely now because fortunately in adult life I don‘t have to sit still and pretend I‘m taking notes.

I also noodled around on the piano, never practicing the stuff I was supposed to practice, instead making up songs and harmonies. Lately I‘ve been rediscovering this (on the guitar). Not songwriting, just leisurely discovering what I can do on the strings.

We‘re often so production-focused in judging our creative pursuits — isn’t music made for performance, poetry to be published, art to be exhibited? — that we forget what a joy it is to just play for the sake of playing.
posted by The Toad at 9:59 PM on November 23 [1 favorite]


This Is Just To Say

I have drunk all
the beer
that was in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for yourself

Forgive me
it was delicious
so sweet
and so strong
posted by bendy at 10:57 PM on November 23


Sonnets, which teachers mostly didn’t like as a form, so I faked up free verse for writing classes.
posted by clew at 11:15 PM on November 23 [3 favorites]


I made a lot of fictional documents (like Stanisław Lem), including a book-length menu for the world's most eclectic restaurant. An actual restaurant owner from my town took a look at it once and told me I'd never break even unless I raised my prices.
posted by aws17576 at 12:23 AM on November 24 [7 favorites]


I drew a lot, mostly from photos of people ( I seem to have lost that ability despite arts training; maybe because while I'm more functionally socialized, I'm fundamentally less social; always found it hard to engage with things I can't relate to).

I liked carving wood and made a nice crossbow from a beech block - hand tools only (still enjoy timber tinkering). Outside of that it was just reading lots and daydreaming, basically rootless and rudderless from about 10 to maybe 26.
posted by unearthed at 1:58 AM on November 24 [2 favorites]


I'd never break even unless I raised my prices.

I mean the printing costs alone!

I, out of all my siblings, was the only one who really embraced sports. Originally it was football and wrestling, but by high school it was just xc in the fall and indoor and outdoor track the rest of the year. I also was into computers and loved trying to do different things with them. I ran a pretty terrible bbs and did some pretty terrible coding when I was a kid.
posted by Literaryhero at 1:59 AM on November 24


Garage band. It wasn’t so much self expression as much as a way to stay out late, drink beer, smoke cigarettes, and kiss pretty girls. This was what was known as being “cool” in high school in the 1980s.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 3:28 AM on November 24 [1 favorite]


My grade school used to have us sell seed packets every spring as a fundraiser. I would (literally) save my pennies and buy all the packets I had to sell. Mom had some old rectangular planters, I filled them with dirt from behind the house. And I grew all the plants! Looking back, it as a hot mess, but they actually grew better than they should have. This would have been like second, third and fourth grade for me.

I also used to pick parts of plants and make organized piles; leaves from various plants, flowers, tiny seeds...I’d pretend to be a wizard and have all this magical stuff at hand, should any big magic be necessary.

Now I look out at my herb, food and flower gardens. And at the seeds that I save and the plants I have in the house and I am very satisfied! Magic works.
posted by LaBellaStella at 4:18 AM on November 24 [9 favorites]


Endless creation of game worlds for RPGs, plus weird craft projects — I made a felt board with a friend and made lances so we could joust on our bikes. Fortunately, we realized that the latter was a poor idea before someone lost an eye.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:08 AM on November 24 [3 favorites]


Sewing! I remember a skirt I made out of a pair of jeans that I loved. In my 20s I made jewellery.
posted by ellieBOA at 6:16 AM on November 24 [1 favorite]


Hours and hours and hours of pretend, usually with some sort of disaster or drama, and my little brother dragged along for the ride. Ellis Island! Irish Potato Famine! Princess Who Has Disguised Herself To Become A Knight! The Oregon Trail! My brother is 6 years younger than me, so he was relatively malleable and directable, but he also refused to be anyone other than a goat named William or a cat named Letter. You don't often hear about William the Goat who went down with the Titanic, but I assure you he was there.

I wrote stories out of everything. Playing the Oregon Trail computer game took years because I'd stop and write a journal entry about every single day. In my parents' attic, there's a box of old photographs and yearbooks from antique stores that all turned into stories. And notebooks teeming with them. Unfortunately, academic writing has squeezed a lot of the creative writing fun from my life, but I suspect it's still lurking somewhere.

Other than that, I played violin and viola in the orchestra (I started out as violin, but my best friend started a year later and was much better than me so I switched), and did ballet very seriously. And listened to a lot of Jethro Tull while burning incense (but nothing else).
posted by ChuraChura at 6:18 AM on November 24 [12 favorites]


I went through what I call a "my pain! my pain! No one understands my pain!" phase which also entailed countless bad poetry and journaling in black books. Sort of ahead of curve on emo for my small town. Also a stage of rejecting my peers and obsessing on the Beatniks and just insufferable I'm sure. And arguing with teachers about busy work and the low standards of education because of my pain my pain. So happy it was before the internet.

I had massive trauma happening as well as losing a brother to suicide and dad to cancer in 2 months at 13 on top of being an introverted early reader so I suppose freaking out the adults was a cry for help and also my main hobby.

But basically I read and slept my way through most of my youth and once walked off the deck cause I was reading a book. So words and books and bad poetry.
posted by kanata at 6:49 AM on November 24 [4 favorites]


Besides helping my parents with their garden, and mostly being underfoot- I was sort of an artist in another life. It wasn't the greatest time for me, and I don't think I was any good, but sometimes I find an old sketchbook, flip through it, cringe, and throw it out.

The mystery brassica is planted! and it's most likely a Portuguese kale. Not... what I was hoping for but I'll take it! I'm not the pickiest when it comes to cole crops. I had one last bed to fill, so I got a lot of interesting veggies and herbs. Some of the stuff hasn't been planted yet so stay tuned? But I did put in all my Japanese veggies in. Komatsuna and Shungiku! I've never grown the latter before wish me luck! I also cracked and got a new bucket. So I could finally use some beneficial nematodes! Basically after one last horrible appearance of the cabbage maggots- RIP last really nice big bok choy. they can travel up the stems? EWWWWW I got some grub destroyer nematodes and went to town. With a fancy new bucket from Cliff's variety! Last but certainly not least, I finally re-sowed the carrot bed. That has been a long time coming.

It's Christmas at the garden center! Thanks! I hate it! We sell Trees, and wreaths and garlands and Poinsettias! And you know, the constant reminder that I'm a religious minority! *sigh* After a day one rolling panic attack about the whole thing... I'm starting to deal. I mean hello I've lived here my whole life this isn't new- it's just my first year where I have to help sell all this shit. And when my asst. manager realized we were getting Christmas cards in that weren't just generic-ish holiday/winter cards but actually said "Merry Christmas" on them, she had me pick out a Hanukkah card from the catalog too. So I work with good people- and hey- everything smells like pine. Pine is a really nice smell. So I'm ok.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 6:58 AM on November 24 [5 favorites]


I created my own sports simulation games. In junior high I created a horse racing game and even got my friends to bet real money on the outcomes. I also remember doing a baseball and football game. The baseball and football games were essentially very simplified versions of APBA Baseball of Football (neither of which I had ever played). The games didn't need dice and could be completed in a 50 minute class period.
posted by COD at 7:21 AM on November 24 [1 favorite]


I wrote stories from about third grade through junior high. My first big story was about two sixteen year old girls names Mandie and Millie. They were from New York and one day accidentally wandered into New Jersey while out collecting pop cans for recycling. They were plucked off the street by people that seemed like kidnappers...but really they had been randomly chosen to be contestants on the Miss America pageant. Representing New Jersey and New York, of course.

I read so many stories about New York as a kid that it must have seemed like the appropriate place for the setting of mine. Mandie (Miss NY) won and began her tour around the country. I think I stopped the story at that point.

One day, I was in eighth grade math class and frantically trying to get my story down in my notebook before class started. I didn't hear the Bell and was completely engrossed in writing when the teacher (Mr. Hughes, Destroyer of Souls) came up and grabbed the notebook. I held on and we fought for a few seconds, then he ripped it away and threw it across the room. He whipped around and stared at me, less than a foot from my face. Then he continued the class as I sat there, in shock. When class was over I retrieved my notebook from it's heap in the front of the room and left. I honestly think that was about the end of me losing myself in the stories that I was writing. Junior high just sucked it all out of me.
posted by Gray Duck at 7:34 AM on November 24 [4 favorites]


I wrote poems by the dozen, like, dozens a day. The only one I remember was a ballad about the 1986 soccer world cup (that my family watched together). I have no interest in soccer today but I still remember Argentina won because that was the first verse. The ballad spoke about the victorious Diego Maradona and how Franz Beckenbauer lost miserably. I wish I still had the text of it somewhere.
posted by M. at 7:44 AM on November 24 [6 favorites]


Steamy slash fiction
definitely this one. the internet made me a very hypersexual kid. plus i attempted multiple nanowrimos at middle school/junior high age that were entirely just horny rewrites of whatever i was into that year and i really wish i still had those!

i don't write anymore but i've always drawn, and the relatively late day that i realized people draw sad things when they're sad as an outlet was a very productive one
posted by gaybobbie at 8:06 AM on November 24 [1 favorite]


I did tap, ballet and jazz from age 3 to 18. I played the flute starting in the 6th grade.

Now I use those "dance skills" to dance with the kids at work. My "tapping" to "Happy Tapping With Elmo" never fails to get the babies laughing.
posted by kathrynm at 8:11 AM on November 24


I led a merry band of misfits.
posted by theora55 at 12:59 PM on November 24 [4 favorites]


Well this was more from my young adulthood, but I used to write letters to people and paint or draw really elaborate scenes on the envelopes. A couple of years ago my mom gave me a big cardboard box of family photos and there were a few of these envelopes in there and I was amazed at the creative energy I used to have. What happened?
posted by HotToddy at 1:02 PM on November 24


That's how I know I'm old. I have boxes of hand written letters and sent boxes of them 10 pages + long to friends who might have just lived the next town over but long distance was expensive and none of us could afford computers. I, in fact, remember girlfriends bemoaning that what were they going to hand down to their children - copies of their phone bills to their future husband?? Hah, but I and my friends had so much to say then..course that could also be that young person's many profound ideas about the world that they think are unique and the type of friendship energy that comes with meeting ones of your first fellow adult friends. Now, I can barely summon the energy to leave my house. So much wasted.
posted by kanata at 1:31 PM on November 24 [1 favorite]


I drew dinosaurs. Dinosaurs drew I.
posted by y2karl at 1:45 PM on November 24 [2 favorites]


Garage bands?

When I was like 15 in the late 80s, my best friend was learning to play guitar, and one day he told me that we should start a band and that I was going to play bass guitar. I was up for that, but I had never played the bass before and I didn't have the money to buy a bass guitar and amp. Not a problem, my friend says, because his friend has a bass guitar and an amp that we can borrow indefinitely. Sweet, I think to myself, because I know that the friend in question plays the guitar and I assumed I'd be using an amp and bass that he didn't play anymore.

The friend brings over the amp and bass, and they're both the Sears Silvertone brand from like the 1960s. The guitar and amp were in really bad shape- the amp would cut out frequently, and I have to go over and kick it or wiggle cords to try and make it make noise. The bass was even worse because sometimes (but not all the time), the lowest string would give me an electric shock as I was playing it. At first I though the electric shock from playing the lowest bass string was pretty mild, about on par with sticking a nine-volt battery to your tongue. I thought I could deal with it, until I made the mistake of touching a light switch (with one hand) at the same time I was touching the lowest string on the bass (with the other hand), and that sent a massive electric shock from the light switch all the way to my shoulder. Even that wasn't enough to make me say "Hey best friend, we need to get me a bass guitar that won't electrocute me", hahhha. #youth
posted by 23skidoo at 2:56 PM on November 24 [5 favorites]


I created two zines and one is now cataloged in the Barnard Zine Library! I'm about to make my third zine now for the first time in uh, a decade and ? years.
posted by mostly vowels at 3:10 PM on November 24 [2 favorites]


As a miserable teen, I wanted to be a writer. Kept a miserable journal, wrote short stories and poems. Then I went to college and there were lots of people around who were very talented, very driven, or both. (Daunting.) Then I got a job in a bookstore and I realized that a) there are an awful lot of very good writers out there and b) there are an awful lot of very good (published) writers out there whom nobody has ever heard of. So I became an editor instead. No more writing of the creative sort. Then, years later--quite recently, in fact--I read a thing that said, "Being a writer who can't handle rejection is like being a boxer who can't handle being punched in the face." Validation at last!
posted by scratch at 3:22 PM on November 24 [3 favorites]


Heh. I was assigned to play the guitar by a bass-playing best friend, and he didn't even bother finding me a guitar that would eventually electrocute me to death. As a result, our band didn't really get off the ground, but we had a totally sick logo.
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:27 PM on November 24 [1 favorite]


I created game worlds for role-playing games, lots of maps (I was good at drawing wiggly lines), potted histories of various lands, often drawn from Time-Life’s Great Ages of Man books (which my grandfather had collected) and a bunch of other information.

Sadly I didn’t really have anyone to play role-playing games with.
posted by Kattullus at 3:30 PM on November 24 [4 favorites]


1. METATALKTAILS QUESTION

I drew very complicated maps while I was bored in school!

2. HONG KONG ELECTION UPDATE

If you're wondering how much of a political earthquake Hong Kong's District Council elections were, here are the numbers from my constituency, which was already held by a member of the pan-democrat camp and probably would have stayed one without the protests. My constituency's total population is about 20,000, with 9,277 registered voters as of 2019.

2011:
Democratic Coalition (pan-democrats): 1475
Independent: 1826
Turnout: 37.9%

2015:
Labour Party (pan-democrats): 2222
Independent: 1956
Turnout: 48.1%

2019:
Labour Party (pan-democrats): 4323
New People's Party (pro-Beijing): 2530
Turnout: 73.8%
posted by mdonley at 3:45 PM on November 24 [10 favorites]


As a kid I drew a lot and for a while I made a comic ("Roga") which ran through about 30 issues. Lots of robots, aliens, spaceships - heavy influence from 2000AD. In my teens I was DM for a long running campaign and I put huge amounts of effort into maps, scenarios, background and history for the world.
posted by crocomancer at 1:55 AM on November 25


Cartoons?

When I was a teen, I really liked the movie Some Kind of Wonderful, and there's this scene where Duncan is in detention, drawing on a desk, and he says something like "This is what my girlfriend would look like without skin", which teenage me thought was a hilarious line. And so I started drawing people on desks, without any skin. Not like every day, but several times a week, I'd draw a body without any skin on it on the desk in whatever class I had last period, using pencil. And my dad was a doctor, so we had weird medical journals that I could look up examples of how to draw bones and muscles and stuff. The next day the drawing was always gone, and nobody ever said anything to me about it, so I just kept on doing it.

Moved when I was 16, and I could tell there was no way in hell that I would be allowed to do stuff like draw gruesome stuff all over desks at my new school, so I started drawing gruesome stuff on notes I'd pass to friends between classes. A few years back, I reconnected with an old classmate who revealed she'd kept some of the notes, and she shared pics of the notes I'd passed to her when I was 16. Here's a couple few examples. (NOTE: Examples include: a faceless humanoid figure with 4 arms and no skin; a humanoid figure with no skin, eating its own heart; and someone- with skin intact- sawing off their own arm because apparently I wanted to branch out or something, ha)
posted by 23skidoo at 7:06 AM on November 25 [6 favorites]


Geez, Gray Duck, what a terrifying tale. I have fond memories of teachers who were extra extra gentle about redirecting me to whatever boringass learning experience they were dragging the class through because they were so pleased that I was reading some Judy Blume or Alexander Key novel I snagged from the class bookshelf instead of carving swearwords into the top of my desk or having a pencil fight or giving/accepting Indian burns or seeing if I could adhere spit-sodden paper wads to the ceiling. I can't even imagine how happy they'd've been had I been writing in a notebook. I wonder if Mr. Hughes remembers his contemptible loss of control sometimes in the deep of the night and groans to himself and longs for his quietus? I would if I were him.
posted by Don Pepino at 9:55 AM on November 25 [2 favorites]


I look back on it and reslize I was pretty good at drawing and art stuff. Better than I realized, which must be why the high school art teacher enrolled me in college art classes. But I wasn't serious about it. I did do crafts all the time when bad weather kept me in.

What I lived in my own little world was: horses. My dad was a farm boy so couldn't live without land. I grew up on a 10 acre spread away from town. I had no friends; except! I had a horse! I was living a dream life and spent all my time outside when weather was permitting. It was really a wonderful childhood.
posted by mightshould at 10:06 AM on November 25 [2 favorites]


I had a tape recorder and improvised what I thought were funny shows. I made newspapers on my parents' electric typewriter.
posted by argybarg at 10:57 AM on November 25 [2 favorites]


Tape recorders! I forgot all about that!
I got a cassette tape recorder for birthday one year when I was probably in fifth grade. Hands down one of the best gifts I ever got. I used it for YEARS. My friends and I would do pretend radio shows, we'd create "commercials" for those album compilations that were all the rage in the 70s and 80s--we would take turns singing clips of songs. I used to watch Cubs games and record my own broadcasts. Taped various sounds and had my parents guess to identify them. I'm sure I'm forgetting tons of things I used that tape recorder for. Fun times!
posted by bookmammal at 11:34 AM on November 25 [3 favorites]


Tape recorders! We kids used them to the max! We had a little show going on and I had several voices, and my sister was dying as the Thanksgiving turkey in one episode, among others. We used to put on plays.

In 8th grade, I was put into Special English. That is, I could do what I wanted. I did a diorama of Laura Ingall's Wilder's family crossing Silver Lake, complete with sand and tinfoil.

Then I studied Egyptian and Phoenician languages. I made myself a code language, based on the Phoenician alphabet, so that no one could read my thoughts.

Pretty much, no one cared about my thoughts, but I thought it was important at the time.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:45 PM on November 25 [1 favorite]


Primitive weapons and tools?
You know that thing where little boys go through a phase where they see one martial arts movie, and then go crazy for nunchucks and throwing stars; or read LotR and everything's suddenly all quests and enchanted swords?
Well my triggering media was Clan of the Cave Bear and Valley of Horses. I made Ayla stuff.
After teaching myself to make slings, and getting good enough to knock a soda can off a fence post from 20 paces ten times out of ten, I moved on to bolas. Then making my own atlatls, knapping some of my own flint cutters and points for the arrows. I ran out of juice before finding a piece of yew to make a bow out of, though.
posted by bartleby at 5:39 PM on November 25 [3 favorites]


In high school, I played bass in the orchestra and jazz band. I was strictly mediocre in orchestra, but I was a pretty decent jazz bassist. I didn't start playing jazz until junior year, and I feel like I could have really done something with it if I had started earlier, or if I kept up with it in college, but I just wasn't good enough by the time I graduated high school to justify changing my college plans to take a serious shot at it. Oh, well.

In college, I did Latin/Rhythm ballroom dance and acting as a side thing.

I started out taking ballroom dance electives but eventually joined the competitive team for a while. My partner and I got a finalist ribbon in Mambo during our second-ever competition, and one of the judges said we would have advanced to top three except that he heard me count off the rhythm out loud at one point during the second round.

As for acting... I did one comedy one-act and then switched to the Shakespeare club. Had one poorly-considered attempt at directing -- in my defence I was filling in for someone else who had a family emergency at the start of the semester. But this is the thing I actually kept doing after college, fell in with a couple of local community theater groups. Had a blast, but fell out after I moved and never got back in. Like you do.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:55 PM on November 25


Hrmm, creative... I think most of it was just doing things that kept me amused. I made a lot of model rockets, the kind you put an engine into and shoot up into the air. Then I started strapping the engines to everything, rocket cars shooting up the streat, rocket boat in the pool, built the Budweiser broke-the-sound-barrier rocket car for a 6th grade project, broke the model rocketry rules and made a rocket out of an aluminum pipe so I could launch it from under water.

For a good while, I had come across some surplus lab glass, tons of test tubes, pipettes, flasks. So a bunch of glass blowing and making little teardrop shapes to give to friends. Then there was the time of the tiny fantasy swords... I'd twist up some coathangers, heat them up cherry red and pound them flat then give them just a bit of an edge. They made pretty decent letter openers.

With a bunch of boys in my dad's neighborhood, we'd run around with toy guns and grenades and such and play WWII. That was probably the most creative sort of thing.

Then by 14 or so it went mostly computers and teaching myself how to make them do things.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:58 PM on November 26


I drew a lot, mostly comic book and heavy metal stuff.

I made a drawing inspired by Iron Maiden's Killers album cover and the Terminator movie, which was a cyborg hand, with flesh torn away below the wrist exposing cables, circuits and steel pistons, holding a bloody axe, with a cemetery and a moon in the background, as a school art class project.

I got called in to the principal's office, who wasn't mad, but rather worried. She looked at me kind of sideways and asked if she needed to be concerned about something?

I explained that no, I just liked heavy metal, but wasn't suicidal or homicidal. I had good grades and was one of the few students in my so-called English school who spoke English, so she it let it go.

Later on, I drew a portrait of her which my senior class had framed and presented to her as a gift, and she hung it up in her office.
posted by signal at 4:12 PM on November 26 [2 favorites]


Utterly obsessed with horses, drawing them constantly. Playing with Barbies and model horses (elaborate dramas that involved a lot of kidnapping), and building villages and paddocks for them. Reading fantasy novels. Playing records and singing along. I loved flying kites and bike rides and roller skating and swimming. Longed to learn archery and swordfighting.
posted by emjaybee at 7:27 PM on November 26 [1 favorite]


I drew lots and lots of horses for many years. I was obsessed with their curves, strength and beauty. It was very soothing and satisfying. I wasn't that great at drawing anything else but I drew perfect horses.

Added: reading above after posting, looks like I'm not the only one :)
posted by waving at 6:49 AM on November 27 [1 favorite]


I've been suffering through a particularly bad bout of depression lately, which always sends me spiraling back into vertiginous loops of nostalgia. To stay productive, I've been digitizing all the music I made on cassette and four-track between the ages of 12 and 18. I'm only about a third of the way through, but already I'm up to 786 discrete pieces of audio (not all of them deserve to be called "songs"). Once I finish digitizing, I'm gonna make myself an MP3 "box set" of all the most intriguing stuff, hand it over to my therapist, and swear never to revisit the raw tapes again.
posted by mykescipark at 12:07 AM on November 28


I used string, cellophane and plastic straws, and homemade needles fashioned from twisted copper wire to make Swiss Christmas Stars from Soda Straws. My dad read how in that 1959 Life magazine, and I took it from there -- not just adding points to icosahedrons, but deriving Bucky's geodesic discoveries on my own to create all manner of colorful, stellated polyhedrons. Way back then I bought a whole bunch of Sweetheart straws, still have many left but the last time I made a star was several years ago.
posted by Rash at 9:53 AM on November 28


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