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» Hatrack River Forum » Archives » Landmark Threads » It Had to be Written (Teshi's Landmark)

Author Topic: It Had to be Written (Teshi's Landmark)
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When my 1000th post was approaching, back in April, I started to give some thought to my landmark. How would I write it? What would I put in it? Over the year here I had read many landmarks, and all of them were amazing. I had never dreamed there was so much in life to write about. I felt somewhat unfit...unworthy… ineligible… unable… to write mine.
So when my 100th post arrived, I ignored it. I posted right over it. I think I mentioned it, but I went on posting as if nothing had happened. I didn’t even try any landmark avoidance tactics. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t write it. I couldn’t do justice to myself, or to the landmark tradition and I wasn’t going to do something halfhearted.
I never had an introduction thread, or a welcome thread, or a “Teshi is a troll/Cedrios” thread, the Hatrack Rules thread was never bumped for me, I just started posting. Please consider this your introduction to me. Please excuse its length- brevity is not my strength.

I have to explain why I am able to write this: Today, June 24th, was my graduation. Today, I put on a cap and gown and walked across the stage at my High School and received a diploma and other assorted certificates essentially summing up 13 years of school. Today, as they say, was the first day of the rest of my life.
But I felt nothing. This ceremony meant nothing to me; no sadness, no joy or elation, no regret, no tinge of apprehension for the coming year. Nothing. Instead, I found my mind was wandering, and sitting there in the auditorium, my award (yes, imagine my surprise, my average was over ninety) on my lap, this landmark came to me fully formed, like a story that finally gained the vital missing ingredient.
So this landmark, my life, is not so much merely a landmark of a number (although I saved the number 1234 for this purpose) but also a landmark of life and something that I need to write. This, in a way, is my attempt at writing ME. I am trying to say only the truth.

On the morning of March 17th, 1986 (how familiar that date is to me!) my mother and my father went for a walk in the Cambridge Botanical gardens. The daffodils must have been out, the leaves must have been just growing, everything was probably green and wet with dew or rain. This is the world I entered. That evening I was born, and called Victoria.

My English childhood was supernormal. It was a book childhood on a dead-end street ideal for playing on, with fields of wheat and glorious behind the house, in a small Essex town with a castle and a stately home and years and years of history. I filled my homework-less days with adventures and games and the back garden swings. The holidays were excursions to Cornwall to the sea, Yorkshire to the moors, France to the sun and Switzerland to the mountains. Weekends were journeys to Cambridge on the train to eat Marks and Spencers egg and bacon sandwiches by the Cam, watching the students and tourists punt by. I never had any problems in school, I was so popular people would fight over me, I was confidant and talented and sports and music. I believe I was bright and clever, although I can’t really judge that. I was a tomboy; instead of joining guides I joined cubs, and had a wonderful time camping and being dragged through the mud in wide games the prim and proper guides never dreamed of playing. I went to a small Christian school where, except for a very vague idea, I learnt nothing about God. There were birthday parties and Lego constructions and our own Halowe’en parties, Fireworks and bonfires on Guy Fawkes’ night, the neighbours, piano lessons, friends I never knew I loved and traditions I never knew I’d miss…

I thought everything would go on being English and good and familiar.

I remember this scene very vividly, although why I don’t know, because it’s before I knew. I was nine years old, coming back from shopping with my father. We were just turning on to the road I lived on.
“They’ll be a surprise for you when you get back,” my father said. Perhaps I remember this because there was something in his voice.
“Will I like it?” I had been tricked by bad surprises before.
“Yes, I think you’ll like it,” said my father.

We were moving. To Canada. Canada! Wasn’t that somewhere over the Atlantic ocean, far, far away, almost unimaginably distant? What was wrong with here? What was wrong with Saffron Walden, England? I cried. I remember crying.
After I finished crying, I remember asking what the surprise was. I have always been trusting.

On the morning of January the 10th, 1996 my family piled into a rented car with seven suitcases, and I got on a plane for the first time in my life to head for a small dot on a map. Ottawa. It would be snowy there. That was all I knew.
I had never seen milk in bags before. I had never seen such thick snow or stood on a large body of frozen water. I had never seen a school with an intercom and no school uniform. I had never been somewhere where I knew nobody. The principal took me personally down to the classroom and I sat in the back right desk. Grade Four. I had been in Year Five in England, was I going backwards?
There was another girl from England in my class. She became my new best friend. At least until she went back to Penzance.
It’s amazing how adaptable a child can be.

I have always been a reader. Roald Dahl and such filled my childhood. The Hardy Boys created my English view of North America. But the first book I was completely thrilled with was one I bought on one of the many Cambridge outings. Tamora Pierce’s ‘Alanna the First Adventure’ captured my imagination like nothing ever had before… and of course there was a sequel (I say sequel because it was years later, in Canada when I finally understood and appreciated the second two books.)
The second book to truly change my life was Robin McKinley’s ‘The Blue Sword’. Another girl-with-a-sword book! You’d think that I didn’t read very widely, but I did. It was merely this vein of books that I loved so completely. But there was a reason this book changed my life.

I never really realized what I was until people started calling me it. I can’t even call myself it- not until I actually do something. But the truth is, I was never foremost a reader. Oh, I read thousands of books, far more than the average person, but far less than the average bookworm. The reason? I was story-playing for hours on end. It started with games by myself (being alone was never something I ever had a problem with), then graduated to picture story-playing. I would talk the story out loud and draw the characters and their surroundings as I named them. Needless to say, there were orphans and princesses and gigantic houses with wonderful floorplans and all the sorts of things a romantic girl imagines.
I wrote stories in class, and I looked forward to it. One of my earliest stories had a character going to an island under a huge class dome on a treasure hunt, complete with clues in fancy-script. It was called Inside Island. As well as my inventions, I was a shameless innocent plagiarizer. I ripped off The Indian in the Cupboard with Lego people that came to life, Harry Potter with basically the same story only with a girl (I was eleven, and Harry Potter was so new that no one would have known.)
It was my plagiarism that sent me on the longest journey of my life, and one that continues still. The Blue Sword took me to a notebook with a bright sunflower cover and the first words of a story that is as yet unfinished. The main character was supposed to be called Sarita, but on the first page I kept writing a ‘u’ by mistake. Surita was born.
The characters, the story and the world have changed so much from the original version as to be almost unrecognizable (which is good because the first version was closer to The Blue Sword than would normally be comfortable). Everything has a life of its own now, and new characters have their own sequels and prequels and histories. And although nobody except me has read every word and most people think I’m wasting my time (parents included) I find myself unable to stop thinking, expanding, changing.
Turns out, writing has been the only thing I have loved all my life.

From the point of leaving England, I was never quite so confident again, or at least, not in the same way. I was never phased by anything, but I found it difficult to speak to people I didn’t know well. I had lost something, and even now, after years of work, I still cannot reach that level of ability I had as a child.
In grade seven I developed a nervous disorder. I threw up in the mornings a lot, for no apparent reason. I wasn’t scared of school; I had lots of friends and nice teachers and I’ve never been bullied, but for some reason I developed this disorder.
After terrorizing five years of my life, it last reared its ugly head last time this year and hasn’t been seen since. Cross your fingers.

My dream in middle school was to be in the High School Band and the High School Musicals. I was in both for all four of the last years.

Now comes the difficult bit. The bit of my life that just happened. The bit I haven’t really had time to mull over, to analyze. Things happened so quickly.

My father did not have a good father. As a result, or so I believe, he is not a brilliant father. It’s easier to notice this kind of thing as you grow older. For four years I forgave and forgave insults to me and to my family, a lack of understand and respect for things that were important to me, a lack of dedication and interest in the family’s affairs, verbal bombarding, no tolerance for my shortcomings and a thousand other things. I have discovered I love characters in books who are fathers or like fathers, and people in real life who have been kind to me. There have been many good times, but I no longer find it within myself to forgive my father, even though I know he loves me. I… no longer love my father.
There, that had to be said.

Then there is my personality. There are two Victorias. Let’s call the loud one Teshi and the quieter one Victoria, just to be clear (although neither name represents one side of me). Victoria is subservient, rarely speaks up, will do anything for a friend even if the friend should do it themselves, she is a bookworm and is afraid of making anyone angry by crossing them. Victoria is my Hufflepuff half. Teshi, on the other hand is unafraid of speaking her mind, or of making herself heard. She is louder and is far more active. She will stand up for she what she believes is right and if she hates something will make herself heard. Teshi is my Griffindor half. These two Victorias are in constant conflict, and this is why I vary from no opinion to much opinion, loud to quiet, practical to dreamy…

See? I cannot write myself. No one can write themselves in a few words. Margaret Laurence managed to, in her book ‘The Diviners’, but I am not Margaret Laurence and I only have four pages.

The last chapter of my life is Hatrack.
The first OSC books I read were the Homecoming Series and loved them. Then, completely without realizing that it was the same author (typical of me) I read the Alvin Maker series, and loved it.
Then I read Ender’s Game as was totally blown away. I wrote a review on Amazon, which is extremely glowing. Then, after realizing the author of these three serieses was the same person I came here. This was December 2002.
That December (I’m fairly sure it was then, it may have been later) I came on the forum for the first time. I remember it well. I was still rather unsure of the internet, and all those terrible things you hear about it. I was doubly afraid of forums.
You all scared me to death. I specifically remember being petrified of Jon Boy. I have no idea why, but he was rambunctious and there were all sorts of things being discussed that my poor little sixteen-year-old brain just didn’t like, and he was smack in the middle of all of them. I discovered that there were lots of Mormons here. What were they? Run and hide! Run and hide!

Four months later I grew used to things, and when I returned, the forum was less terrifying (although Jon Boy wasn’t [Wink] ). I joined and kind of started posting. I’m not very loud, even in loud-mode, but I listened and read and I have learnt more in this last year than I leant about people and about opinion than I learnt in four years of real life of high school.
You lot are the only adults I could possibly carry on a conversation with. It’s somewhat pathetic, but that’s the truth. Writing always came to me more easily than words.

So there you have it. I’m afraid it’s long, and not eloquent and it’s missing bits (i.e. LOTR, which was a huge chunk of my life), but as I said; as well as a landmark, it’s also a thing that must be written.

Now I know why I couldn’t write this before. People are always saying that stories should have a beginning a middle and an end. Now my story has all three. But, like all other stories the ending is also a start, and like Tamora Pierce’s last words in that Alanna book that turned me towards much of what I am now, it's always fun to end with:


Hello, my name is Teshi.

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Erik Slaine
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Beautiful landmark. Post on. [Hat]
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Member # 4859

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Hi, Teshi! [Big Grin]

Thank you for letting us know you a little better. May you find adventure in your life that stirs you and moves you.

I was also transplanted as child -- a bit younger than you were. And I agree that it has the potential to cause major alterations in your perceptions and world-view.

[edit: oops! Why didn't ieSpell catch that?]

[ June 24, 2004, 10:55 PM: Message edited by: rivka ]

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Erik Slaine
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Member # 5485

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Hi Teshi, nice to meet you.

Great writing, by the way. [Smile]

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Yes Erik, one's view of wolds.

Sheesh, don't ya know anything?

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Erik Slaine
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It wasn't meant to be "mold-views"?
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Member # 5485

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Actually, you could be on to something there.

Lots of mould in the UK.


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*Reminded of when I was that age*

Oh, my... how old I sound if I say, "when I was that age"


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Nice to meet you!

Nice landmark too. I hope your book is as well written and easy to follow.


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Great to have you here.

Good to meet you.

It's nice when the ideas just flow.

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That was beautiful! I loved reading about you. Nice to know you better. Wonderful to read about you discovering the writer within. I am not a writer of fiction, though I tried my hand at it in my teens. I particularly related to the paragraph about your two selves being in conflict. It is not exactly how I am, but similar enough for me to feel that I can relate.

And I think it is way cool how the common theme running through Hatrack is a love and admiration for the writings of OSC. Sure brings together a splendid bunch of human beings.

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Congratulations on your award and High School Graduation.

I hope you find a way to have a better relationship with your dad someday.

And now, let me just say that I enjoyed your landmark post and I'm glad to know you a little better.

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Bob the Lawyer
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Ok ok ok...

I know you probably get this all the time but...

Do you still have the accent? Grade 4/5 is probably young enough to have lost it, but still...

But hey, great reading the landmark. Are you going to school in southern ontario? Oh, and while I think it's completely unacceptable that you live here and haven't met me, I forgive you.

So there.


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Thanks for the landmark. [Smile] I see a lot of myself in you. Our pasts are different, and I could never write something as eloquent as what you did, but I see many of the same emotions and ideas in your story that I have in mine. I even passed up a 1,000 landmark just as you did (and eerily enough, was pondering doing one at 1,234).

It was nice to get to know you better. [Smile]

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I think I read the Blue sword once. And the sequel, but I don't remember the title to it.
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peter the bookie
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Victoria was an excellent mafia player. Good thing she kept Teshi in line, or people might have gotten suspicious. [Wink]
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[Hat] Powerful landmark. Thank you for sharing it with us.
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Beautiful landmark, Teshi.

Thanks so much for sharing yourself with us.


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Hello Teshi (and Victoria). I am Dan Raven.

That was great. Yes, you are know Margaret Laurence, but you are Teshi, and that landmark proves that you are just as much a writer, creator of worlds, teller of tales.

I look forward to reading your published works one day.

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Member # 5024

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Thanks for reading my landmark, everyone. I was terribly worried about this- it's really hard writing these things! And BtL, I do still have a bit of an accent, and people are always surprised when I tell them how long I've been here. Then they ask me to say something. I vary between obliging them with an accent and pronouncing it the Canadian way and ruining their fun [Wink] .

(By the way, I forgot to say I'm not scared of Jon Boy anymore...oops.)

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That was a wonderfully written landmark and I appreciate your openness. I would remind you that your graduation, although an ending in many ways, is also full of new and exciting things to look forward to. A new beginning of sorts!

My wife and her father had a falling out where they did not speak to each other or correspond in any way for about 8 years. I would hope that your relationship with your father is one that can be mended. I remind my wife that a bad relationship with her father is better than none at all, and I think she is finally starting to believe me.

I also have to admit that no matter how we try to not pidgeon-hole someone into how we might imagine them in real life, I had a pre-conceived notion that you were similar to a male "Teschi" character I had one seen in an anime flick once, of which I cannot remember. So I am sorry and have updated my brain to at least get your gender right! If it makes you feel any better, one fellow Hatracker once told me that when I posted, he imagined this frail but destructively attractive female persona. Considering I am a thirtysomething male, that was a bit...strange. But there you have it.

Oh, and Jon Boy still scares the bejeebus out of me, and I kind of like it that way. [Razz]

[ June 25, 2004, 06:32 PM: Message edited by: Alucard... ]

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