In the summer before ninth grade, socially awkward and pubescent, I wrote my first self-motivated work, a 12-page manual on dating titled “De Book o’ Love.” Juvenile and mildly offensive, the piece borrowed largely from the humor of Monty Python and Douglas Adams, was full of flaws grammatical and factual and was never fully finished. It also remains one of the best things I have written, which is amazingly frustrating.
“De Book o’ Love” had a short and glorious two year reign in my school, aggressively self-promoted and eliciting quiet polite chuckles from those I forced it upon. In true literary fashion, I abandoned it and it’s numerous versions, editions and rewrites only after milking it for all it was worth, finally going out with a bang by acting out a “chapter” with sock puppets for a speech assignment in my English class.
While inarguably idiotic, it did show a mature, almost Zen-like approach to writing in two major components; 1) I believed since I knew nothing of dating, women, and had never had a girlfriend I could, as a true outside observer, articulate the process in an objective fashion and 2) I decided to take the bulk of the book from what I could remember of the inane, random phrases I had written the previous year in my classmate’s yearbooks (i.e. “It’s a sausage.").
As an actual advice book about dating it was terrible and stupid.
My high school experience was one of a group of guys and I smoking stolen cigars, drinking in the barn, skipping school and watching as many movies as our minimum-wage jobs could afford us. None of us were particularly successful with the ladies, all of us were perhaps desperately, almost cynically romantic and we each had our fledgling bout with girls both singularly amazing and completely mismatched for our particular desires.