Angsty teen writings

I was going through some old papers and I found a fan fiction I had handwritten when I was 20 for The Flying Doctors, an Aussie TV series that ran during the late 1980s/early 1990s that I loved. At the time I didn’t know that what I was writing was something called fan fiction – this was pre widespread internet.

In my tale, the heroine, Esther Bergman (fictional surname and Esther was 7 years older than me with an unrealistic published writer, librarianship AND film production assistant career), is someone escaping some angsty stuff in London. She has traveled to Australia where she drives through the Outback for two months on her own (it was pretty well researched, if I say so myself, with an itinerary and distances noted and small town landmarks in the New South Wales Outback mentioned). After two months Esther comes to the little town of Coopers Crossing and of course instantly becomes very good friends with pretty much the whole cast of The Flying Doctors.

Nurse Kate (Lenore Smith) and doctor Geoff (Robert Grubb) become favourites in my tale and fictional Esther strikes up a close friendship with Dr. David Ratcliffe (Brett Climo). They are, of course, supposed to become each other’s true loves.

I never got that far in my tale. David and Esther had only gotten to the hugging and an occasional cheek kiss stage. My fan fic was too caught up in details (writing in daily (!!) diary form) which made the story development very slow and mired in nonsense and in the end I guess I just gave up.

Tucked into that notebook there were also some loose sheets of paper with some teen angst poetry I had written between the ages of 16 and 20. I used to write those in my diary but at some point I also copied them onto these loose sheets of paper – the collected poetry works of Esther, if you will. I didn’t have the patience to construct sentences beautifully or even use any striking words or phrases and there was only occasional rhyming, but these poems did come from my heart and I do remember writing most of these. It was really nice going down memory lane with them, bringing back old thoughts and feelings.

The notebook was falling apart, the ink on the loose sheets of paper was fading and I must have spilled something over it as many pages had these huge greasy spots on them. So, I decided to transcribe it all. The fan fic turned out to be someting like 19.500 words long and really isn’t worth finishing, especially as I can’t remember anymore what I had in mind for David and Esther. I am more pleased that I have now also transcribed those 13 poems. Most of them are bad to iffy (the world has not lost a great poet in me) but two of them I do still quite like, so I’ve decided to share them here.

The first poem was written when I was 16, about two months after I started going to an international boarding school in The Netherlands. During the first months there, one of the pretty, popular guys wrote me a few anonymous ‘love letters’. A go-between soon told me they were from Mr. Popular and that he wanted to date me. Inside I was feeling very flattered as I really wasn’t someone to normally be noticed by the pretty boys. I had sense enough, however, to tell the go-between that if that guy really meant it, he should come talk to me. Turned out Mr. Popular had no real interest in me at all and had only been interested in making fun of me publicly had I really reciprocated. Luckily, the crush I had secretly developed was instantly cured, but it had still been a painful incident. It inspired my first poem and imagine this as the setting with a lane and there’s also a stream on the premises:

as I walked down the lane,
I thought,
“Is life only a game?”

as I heard the rushing stream,
I thought,
“Why is it that I can’t scream?”

smelling the clear fresh air,
I thought,
“I guess this is a nightmare.”

in the beautiful autumn landscape,
I thought,
“I wish I could escape.”

stepping into the dirt,
I thought,
“Why does it hurt?”

it is passing by.
I think…
I don’t know why.

The second poem was written half a year later when I had just turned 17 and I had fallen in love with a guy I remained in love with for the rest of my school years there (although never requited).

in a lake.
It is peaceful.
Going on,
with the river.
It is enjoyable.
Coming out,
to the sea.
I’m losing strength.
it is an ocean.
I can’t get out!
I’m drowning
in my thoughts.
I’m thinking of you.

Yep, pretty angsty stuff! I actually remember writing that second one pretty quickly, like it was all there and ready, waiting to flow out. That’s the way I like them, quite short and sweet and with a meaning I can easily interpret. I’m not that much of a poery fan, although I do like some. Poems always need to make some sort of immediate sense to me and I don’t like puzzling over them for ages, trying to figure them out. I guess I’m more of a prose girl, which is why I never really honed the poetry craft.

So, these are what they are and it’s been fun, but now that these old writings have been documented, it’s off to better things. 🙂

The last time

OK, posting part of another another diary entry here because when I read that, I saw such another clear Anne with an E  parallel! I wrote this entry on June 6th, 1988, which was three days after my graduation. Here goes:

“Soon after the graduation ceremony was over we had to go home because papa, mama, my brother and I were leaving for Germany early next morning. So, after I got some people to sign my yearbook (not all have done that yet) I had to leave. I was quickly hugging some people goodbye. The last one I hugged was [my friend] Im, and suddenly out of the blue tears were rolling down my cheeks, so I just ran out and down the steps and into the car.”

FYI, my school was an old castle so picture me running down these stairs at the front of the castle (this is how it looked in the 1980s):

“I was wearing a ¾ length skirt. While running down the stairs it was flapping behind me, I think I hit Jer who was standing on the stairs with his sister. The last sight I had of him was the two of them standing there. In a way I was also sad that now I’ll never see Jer again. After all he was my big love. Just after graduation I had bumped into him by accident. We both stood there and congratulated each other. Hadn’t I been in a hurry I would have kissed him on the cheek. In a way it wouldn’t have felt that embarrassing. But I only thought of that much later when I was in bed and it suddenly clicked that he and I had congratulated each other.”

I mostly remember quite clearly the last glimpse I had of Jer and his sister as we drove away. I remember thinking I had to imprint that on my brain as the last time I’d ever see him. Now that I read this diary entry I do recall a flash of the bumping into each other moment, saying something quickly and then getting out of each other’s way as quickly as possible. Thinking of that moment reminds me of this moment in Anne with an E:


Oh my goodness, the teen angst of it all! The only difference here is that Anne and Gilbert really are made for each other. 🙂

When I was 17…

This whole Anne with an E craze of mine has me thinking about my own teen years a lot and about the boy I was in love with at that age. I fell in love with Jer during junior year when I was 16 and that went on until graduation a year and a half later. It was unrequited as far as I know, although even now when I re-read my diaries I do wonder whether maybe there was a little interest from his side as well after all. I guess I’ll never know. In any case, it never amounted to much. We were thrown together a lot in classes and such (it was a small school) but I never got up the nerve to ask him on a date and although I do remember many looks and small interactions, like for instance him borrowing my pen (like Anne lent Gilbert hers in last week’s episode)…

Gilbert borrows Anne's pen.gif

… he never asked me out either. We certainly never had moments like these…

Gilbert and Anne fireside 02

With some memories flooding back, I decided to go though some of my diaries that I wrote at the time and I found a list of little dreams for the near and further future that I had written when I was at the beginning of senior year. It is filled with teen angst. I was 17 and trying to put Jer out of my head. It was so much fun reading that list and going though the items on it, I just had to also share here!

I went to an international boarding school (got there on a scholarship) in The Netherlands for junior and senior year, while my parents still lived in Germany. I went home every vacation but, effectively speaking, I have not lived with my parents since the age of 16. I loved it there, I loved Jer and I apparently penned this list of little dreams in september 1987:

I want to talk to my parents just for the sake of hearing their voices (they’re in East Germany now) – Yes, this was 2 years before the Berlin Wall fell in Germany and while my parents were there I couldn’t speak with them on the phone (which normally happened 2 or 3 times a week)

I want to go back to Israel  – I lived in Israel for the first 10 years of my life and had just been back there again 9 months prior for the first time after I had left. Over the years I have luckily gone back several times, even blogged about one such visit when I was older and married with kids here.

I want Jer to fall in love with me without me necessarily falling in love with him, or would I? – At that time I was trying so hard to not be in love with Jer and at that time was convincing myself that I was succeeding in that mission. I wasn’t. I continued to pine for him for the next 8 months.

I want to be appreciated – I guess I was appreciated in many ways, it’s just hard to feel that people do appreciate you when you are an insecure teenager and your crush doesn’t return your love.

I want Rob to fall in love with me, it would make me feel good. – Rob was a new boy in school, popular, good-looking type and I had caught him looking at me a few times (I so don’t remember this, just read that in my diary!). I had no interest in him whatsoever romantically and I don’t think I ever exchanged more than a few sentences with him but I wanted someone to pine after me the way I was pining after Jer. Guess that ties into the whole being appreciated thing again.

I want to watch Jer in peace and quiet without him noticing. – Oh man, I used to watch the guy all the time!

I want to succesfully stay away from love for a while, it only makes me depressed. I guess at the moment I’m doing pretty well on that subject. – I wasn’t doing well at all.

I want to meet Gregory Peck –  That’s one dream that alas never came true.

I want to be a very good journalist for the school newspaper – I had just started on the newspaper at the beginning of senior year. I ended up being OK.

I want to be able to sing nicely – Nope, never happened.

I want to spend 1000 guilders on anything I want to in one day.  – This was way before the Euro and nope, never happened. Unless booking a vacation counts.

I want to be able to play piano and tap dance – Never learned how to tap dance. Did take piano lessons a few years later but never had the discipline to stick with it. I still have a piano at home, though (which we are now thinking of selling).

I want to finish school without doing much work – I could have done more, but I still worked pretty hard compared to earlier years. I had a scholarship to live up to after all. Graduated pretty well, in the end, which was worth the work I had put into it.

I want a faithful watchdog named Spec (from Spectrum) – Huh? I have no clue anymore what that was about! And what about my lifelong wish to have cats? Why wasn’t that on this list?

I want someone to dedicate the song ‘ Nothing’s going to change my love for you’ to me. (e.g. Jer even though I don’t love him, I just want him to love me) – See? I was still pining even while pretending I was not! And oh my goodness, seriously, that song? I can’t remember ever liking it but I guess I must have to a certain extent if it is included on this list. Yikes.

I want to have a Volkswagon Beetle that I want to name Fred 5 – Actually, I do remember that wish, although I can’t remember why I chose that name. I still have a wish for such a car to this day! Not practical and it’s expensive but even my kids know that if we one day become millionaires, such a car would end up in my posession.

I want to spend at least a year in Rome – This was due to loving the movie Roman Holiday and having visited there twice in my teens. It’s not a particular wish nowadays, although I certainly wouldn’t mind if such an opportunity presented itself.

I want to see a beautiful movie – I have seen many!

I want to read a great book – Yep, have read a few!

I want to go to a David Bowie concert and dance with him on stage while he’s singing ‘China Girl’ – I did the concert a couple of years later! But alas never the dance on stage.

I don’t ever want to be breathtakingly beautiful – beauty doesn’t last – Wasn’t a realistic wish anyway, to be so beautiful.

I don’t ever want to lose my dreams or stop having dreams – Yes, I still do have dreams! They change a bit over the years but I always have dreams and like having them.

I want to be both realistic and romantic,  although not so romantic that I’m blinded from reality – I can still get behind that statement and on the whole think I have an OK balance regarding that.

I always want to have a problem once in a while so I learn properly how to appreciate happiness – Interesting, I’d completely forgotten I ever thought something like that but I can get behind that, even now. The darker parts in life can sometimes help you appreciate the lighter parts more.

I want to sit snugly in a big chair infront of a fireplace talking to the one I love while outside a storm is raging – We have a fireplace and I have sat and chatted there with my love on cold days. So yes, checked that item off my list!

I’ve had crushes in my life and went out with a few but I have only ever been head over heels in love twice in my life – the first time with Jer in high school, which is why I guess I can relate so well to the Anne and Gilbert love in Anne with an E and all the terrible confusion surrounding that at that age.

My second big love was Mr Esther. When I met him in class, just like I had met Jer in class, I vowed to not make the same mistake twice and this time I made sure I actually talked to and became friends with the object of my affection. It’s always good to learn from your mistakes. Jer and I were never meant to be but Mr Esther and I were and in hindsight I’m glad that I had had the high school experience to learn from.  I can still feel the angst and confusion and insecurity on almost every page of my teenage diaries.


Gosh, I am glad that I’m not a teen anymore! My poor kids…