Things I wish I’d told myself . . .

Ganked from various folks:

10 things I would tell to my 12-year-old self:

1. DON’T take Russian in high school. Take Latin! Take LATIN!! Or, French. But by God and all that is holy, don’t take Russian! You’ll never use it and forever lament that you don’t have a solid background in Latin. You can take French, but you’ll do it in college as an easy A, so it can wait.

2. You’re intelligent and beautiful. Don’t listen to the asshats who call themselves your friends who are trying to convince you otherwise. If you do, it’ll take you years to get over their dysfunctional, passive-aggressive mind games.

3. Take the damn PSAT, you fool. You rawk at standardized tests. Is there a reason you want to throw away the opportunity for college scholarship money? And also, while we’re talking standardized tests, do a little prep for the ACT and SAT. When we prepped for the GRE, we totally blew it away. Think about how much better you’ll score if you’d just cracked a book or two.

4. When you decide in a year or so that it’d be fun to color your hair blue, don’t. Or, if you’re really intent upon blue hair, don’t let your friend who’s going through beauty school do it. Down that path lies tragedy and tears. Well, maybe not tragedy . . . or tears. But a lot of blue on everything.

5. There’s nothing you can do about your mother. Sorry. Deal with her as best as you can. But on the positive side, she becomes a non-issue as soon as you leave for college in four years. On a related note, when your mother finds out your dad is helping out with your college tuition, don’t let her go after him with her lawyers to fulfill his child support debt, because as soon as she starts legal proceedings, he’ll disappear again, and his monthly checks will too. And even though she caused your academic financial dire straits, she won’t do anything to get you out of them.

6. Quit worrying so much about what other people are thinking about you. They’re not. They’re too preoccupied worrying about what other people are thinking about them. And the ones that are spending their time judging you? They’re shallow losers who will end up as college drop-outs working pizza delivery jobs or secretaries clinging to the past in a smoky haze.

7. Revel in your health. It’s not going to last. Your body’s going to fall apart pretty quickly, so enjoy it while you can.

8. Don’t let the next four years derail your dream of being a writer. If you do, it’ll be over a decade before you pick it up again. You’ll lose years when you could have been polishing your craft, taking creative writing classes, and getting published.

9. The guy you’re going to fall in love with in the next few months? He’s a jerk. In fact, most of the guys you hook up with in the next couple years are going to be total losers. Have fun with them, but don’t take them too seriously. And y’know the guy you’ve had a crush on since first grade? He’s not for you. He’s going to grow up to be just like his parents, and you know what they’re like. Your true love is someone you don’t know yet. You’ll meet him in college. Trust me.

10. You’re a wonderful person. You’ll come to see that in time, but it would really cause a lot less heartache if you’d just accept that now.

Writing Stuff

Heard back from the editor of Apex Digest. He approved of my rewrite and wants to publish “Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me” in their Winter 2005 issue, #4. Hurray!

Also saw a review from Bluejack in the July IROSF of “The Life and Times of Penguin” (in the current issue of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine) that made me grin. It’s a wry grin, but a grin nonetheless:

“Of all of the stories, only Eugie Foster’s The Life and Times of Penguin really managed to stick in my craw. But I managed to get it out, and my craw is doing fine now, thanks. (Foster trots out the usual objections to any sort of loving God, and shoots down the usual straw men. You’re either going to agree wholeheartedly, or, if you’re to my way of thinking, you’ll pound the table grumbling “That’s not the point.” But if you’ve ever talked religion with anyone, this will be nothing new. And the story’s fine.)”

Now, that makes me wonder, has Bluejack not read Candide by Voltaire? “Penguin” is as high an homage I can make to that amusing work, not to mention my salute to a balloon animal a sweet old man made me. Ah well. I am sort of disappointed, overall, with the caliber of Bluejack’s reviews in IROSF. A lot of it is how sketchy his coverage is. He only touches upon one or two of the stories in each issue of any ‘zine he reviews. I suppose it’s because of the bulk of material he has to cover, but I’ve been published in several issues that he’s “reviewed” and received nothing but a dismissive synopsis. And the one tale of mine that he does deign to give more than passing attention to, he objects to on religious principle. I end up with a dismissive “the story’s fine.” Well fooie.

New Words: 600
On a new folktale.

Club 100 For Writers


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34 Responses to Things I wish I’d told myself . . .

  1. safirasilv says:

    Hey, your story impressed him enough that he talked about it. It’s an odd review, but from the sound of it he just passes most things over, so at least you made an impression.

  2. harmonyfb says:

    Don’t let the next four years derail your dream of being a writer. If you do, it’ll be over a decade before you pick it up again.

    ::looks at all the child-free, high-free time years lost to ad writing::

    Oh, honey, do I ever sympathize.

  3. reudaly says:

    Yay on APEX!!! I chose to send one of my newest, favoritest pieces to Jason because he’s so cool – even though I could’ve hit the bigger markets first.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Jason’s very cool. I’ve enjoyed working with him and he conducts a really fun interview. Not to mention Apex is just simply a very swank publication.

      • reudaly says:

        Hence going there instead of Analog or Asimov’s right now. Apex may not pay as much, but Jason’s what you just said – way cool with an awesome product.

  4. jmeadows says:

    I like that meme. And I like your answers to it. 🙂

  5. nmsunbear says:

    1. DON’T take Russian in high school.

    Gawd, yes. How I wish I’d taken French! If only I hadn’t been able to tell the difference between “ay-hooonh” and “ay-hunh.” (Do you remember that test? I assume you took it too.) Of course, if I hadn’t taken Russian I would likly not have gotten together with Arne….

    8. Don’t let the next four years derail your dream of being a writer.

    Since yoou’re talking to a 12-year-old self, these obviously aren’t the same four years that derailed me… but being a writng major in college made me decide it could never happen. It took a brilliant mentor in library school to put me back on track.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      If only I hadn’t been able to tell the difference between “ay-hooonh” and “ay-hunh.”

      Oh. My. Gohd! I think I’d blanked that from my consciousness. Those terrible, terrible language labs. I remember running around as a subbie chanting “ay-hoonh” and “ah-hunh.” Too funny!

      Thanks so much for triggering that blast-from-the-past memory! Eeee!

  6. Anonymous says:

    The List

    Very eye-opening. Thanks.


  7. writer_space says:

    I love your list. It’s amazing, the number of things we shake our heads over in hindsight, but I still wouldn’t change much of anything. Even if I would like to smack the younger me around a little bit and wake her up. *g*

    • Eugie Foster says:

      I’ve got very few BIG regrets, looking back. I’m the person I am today because of the trials and tribulations I went through then. But I can’t help but think I ought to have been able to get where I am with fewer bumps.

  8. Scary that I can most relate to the blue hair.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      My first hair coloring experiment and it was such a disaster it scared me off from doing more for quite some time. And I had a lot of blue-tinted pillowcases after that . . .

  9. ogre_san says:

    You’ve managed to find and push a reviewer’s hot button. Welcome to the club. 🙂

  10. Anyone who even tries to take on a re-telling of Candide deserves an award, much less a glowing review. Don’t worry about the lad, he’s probably never even heard of Candide, or if he has, thinks is an STD.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Don’t worry about the lad, he’s probably never even heard of Candide, or if he has, thinks is an STD

      Mmf. That got a belly laugh out of me. Thanks, by the way.

  11. gannet says:

    You know, I wish that I’d taken the time to get to know you better in high school, because it’s clearly true that you’re a fabulous person.

    I hope I get the time to write down my ten things to tell my 12-year-old self, because it’s an interesting exercise.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      I’m glad we got to hang out at least some in high school. I knew then you were a very thoughtful and very compassionate person. But yeah, I wish we’d gotten to be better friends then too.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think Number Nine should be pounded into the head of every twelve-year-old (and thirteen-year-old and fourteen…). But, then again, they wouldn’t listen, would they?

    I sure as heck wouldn’t have listened. Stupid younger self.

    Pat Kirby

  13. amokk says:

    I’m trying to think of 10 things, hm…

  14. Anonymous says:

    Comment on “Penguin”


    I just heard “Penguin” on EscapePod. The story is wonderful. Nothing more to say 🙂 Except, perhaps, that it ranks with two stories that made me old cynic swallow a very fat lump, both of which were by Hans-Christian Andersen.

    Thank you.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Re: Comment on “Penguin”

      Thank you, mysterious nameless reader (listener). It always makes my day when I hear from people who enjoy my fiction.

      • Anonymous says:

        Re: Comment on “Penguin”

        Sorry for staying anonymous, but that’s the way I do it in public spaces. If I had an email address and a GPG-key of yours, I’d drop the anonymity at once 🙂

        Perhaps I can comfort you with a recipe for getting warm? Warm mead (or warm red wine, or alcohol-free: hot chocolate sweetened with honey), spiced with cinnamon, clove, coriander and a whiff of nutmeg.

        • Eugie Foster says:

          Re: Comment on “Penguin”

          Alas, while I can provide an email address, the particulars of GPG/PGP keys flummox me. So I’ll raise my mug of hot wassail in salute to you, mysterious identity notwithstanding, and thank you for your warm wishes.

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