My First Story: Michele Roger

by Emerian Rich

My First Story
with author Michele Roger

Age first started writing: 9
Location of first writing:  For this story, I was 11 and a 5th grade student living in a small, Detroit suburb called Waterford.  The space program was booming with it’s shuttle program.  I started a babysitting job, saving every penny with the hopes of attending the brand new Space Camp hosted by NASA.

Atmosphere:

National Geographic “World” Magazine was buzzing about NASA’s new Space camp for kids.  There was talk that a “real” person, maybe a teacher would join one of the shuttle missions.  I began to dream that some day, that “real” person could be me.

My first story/Basic plot:

“X-Orbis 2” was about a girl who played the piano and wanted to go into space.  She and her trusty piano jumped into a space shuttle called the X Orbis 2 and headed for a newly discovered planet.  Her mission: play a rock concert so awesome, the aliens couldn’t wait to meet all of the inhabitants of earth. They came back to earth with her and played the first Alien/Earthling Fusion Rock concert.  As a rockin’ musical ambassador, she also recorded everything she saw on her trip.

 

The opening to the story read,   “X-Orbis 2,

has a very nice view.

And as we go higher,

the sky is more blue.

The land and the lakes,

look so very far.

But above me, a sea of dazzling stars.”

What did you think of the story then? 

My teacher had assigned us to write a story about what our life might be like when we grew up.  At the time, I thought I was just completing an assignment.  When I got my paper back, it had no grade.  Instead, in read lettering were the words, “Please see me.”  My heart leapt into my throat.

When I went to see the teacher, she wrote something on a piece of paper, folded it over and told me to take my story and the hand written not to the principal.  I nearly cried but was too afraid to ask why.

It was a long walk to the principal’s office.  What had I written that was so wrong?  I was a good student.  Couldn’t they let me off with a warning?

When I arrived, Sister John Marie (the secretary nun who took the name of John the Baptist) motioned for me to go in.  As I passed through the corridor, the paddle that the principal used on delinquents shined in the sun, reflecting my worried look back to me as it hung on the wall.

I handed the paper and note as instructed and sat down in front of her giant desk in silence.  I watched her eyes move back and forth, left to right as she read my story.  She looked at me without smiling.  Miss Hanrahan never smiled.  Part of me wondered if she knew how.

Picking up the telephone, I heard her ask for the priest.  My eyes filled with tears and I fought the urge to throw up.  It was beyond serious if Father Belzack was being called in.  I was surely going to be expelled.  My parents would be called.  Thinking of my father arriving in his police cruiser made the glimmering paddle look pretty good all of a sudden.

Father arrived, whistling as he walked in the office.  “So, where is my star reporter from the future?”

At that moment, a miracle happened.  Miss Hanrahan smiled.  Father Belzack plopped down in the chair next to mine.  “All your teachers have read this and say it’s the best story they’ve had come of the middle grades in years.  With your permission, we would like to publish it in the church bulletin?!”

A week later, shaking hands with familiar school mates as well as parishioners I didn’t know, I smiled and thanked people for their “congrats!” and “well done!” compliments.  While my story had just started out as another assignment for school, in that moment, I wondered if some day, I might become a real author.

What do you think of the story now? 

I love the idea of the story and how it was told in rhyme.  I still have high hopes to see an intergalactic rock concert in my lifetime.  While I’m not a piano playing planetary diplomat, I did become a professional harpist and an author.

How did the story help you on the road to writing? 

Being recognized by my school and community for my writing planted a seed that eventually grew into a side career.

Current work: 

Eternal Kingdom: A Vampire Story is about a life-size game of chess played by two masters; one a human child prodigy, the other, the oldest living vampire.  The pieces are real life humans versus vampires in a death match played out before an audience of elites from around the world.


Michele Roger is the author of novels, “The Conservatory” and “Eternal Kingdom: A Vampire Story”.  She has also had her short stories published in several anthologies both in the United States as well as the UK.  She is the founder and moderator for the women’s speculative writing group, “Wicked Women Writers.”

Next time, you’ll hear from author Suzanne Madron.

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