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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Hayden

Second Grade Byline

Updated: Apr 12, 2023

I returned to my home state of Michigan around Christmas time to see my family. As is often the case, I went through some old stuff at my mother's house. I found a book I had written about her when I was seven years old.

There was this company called Chimeric and they had these book kits with paper for kids to write and illustrate, and then you'd send those pages in and they'd make a little book out of it. There were different color choices you could select for the cover and then you could write a little biography in the back.

Anyway, I hadn't read through this in years, but I was somewhat impressed by my use of language at that age, but then again I always was a "deep" kid. (As an aside, I'm definitely not impressed by the artwork.) Below are a few of the sample pages:

The reason I have been thinking about this lately is that finding this old thing felt like confirmation that I've always been a writer.

I've also been thinking about this book lately because I notice that multiple pages were about emotionand negative ones. There were positive things I wrote in the book, but I found that the more poetic pages were those that examined this emotional volatility. And I still find that some of my best writing dives into the darkness, though this year I'm trying not to rely as heavily on that anymore.

On a final note, I've been thinking about this a lot as I study myself and my own negative emotions and negative patterns (my tendency to guilt trip, for example, and how this was modeled for me in childhood; the unhealthy and damaging way I react when I ingest a very specific cocktail of hurt, humiliation, and hopelessness and why this is; how my great-grandmother was with my Nana, how my Nana was with my mom, how my mother was sometimes with me, how I had actively determined not to be with my daughter and am even more committed to that now.) I've always been introspective, but since last summer I've been peeling back a lot of layers, diving deeper than I ever had before, to the very core of things. The genesis of things. I don't always like what I see, but I've never known who I am (for better and for worse) more than I do at this very moment, and I am striving to uncover the rest in order to grow, heal and do better. Be better.

Although this is a writing blog, not a psychology blog, I see these threads throughout. A lot of my writing is very much connected to who I amas well as who I was and who I am becoming.

Below is the cover of the book:

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