Summer of Dreams – Prologue

summerofdreamsindexNote: This was written when I was sixteen. Cringe cringe wince.

“You can never ever leave without leaving a piece of youth.”

When I look back on this summer I get this heartsick feeling, this desire to make sure that I’ll always remember it all. There’s no way I could let it become another half-forgotten memory swirling around my head with the millions of others. Writing this brings smiles to my face and tears to my eyes. No matter what, though, I’ll record all of it. I couldn’t bear to let all the events, memories and dreams just fade away.

I think if I could have, I would have called this book “Great Expectations” but unfortunately Charles Dickens has already used that one. I also considered calling it something like, “Journey into the heart and soul of a teenage girl” but I disregarded that, too. It’s an okay description of the book, but there’s just something about that that just seemed a little off to me. I like my titles to be a little more mysterious and maybe a little more deceiving as well. Summer of Dreams can mean anything – dreams come true, dreams shattered, about hopes for the future, about those strange things that we have at night, daydreaming, alternate worlds, not being in touch with reality, and the list goes on and on. In my case it’s all of the above in one story about an eventful summer, and I find it the most fitting title there could be.

I’m just your average teenager living your average teenage life, as most would say. It’s special to me, though, because it entails all the emotions and events that I want to remember forever. Actually, I doubt very much that I am just your average teenager. After all, what is normal? But this is no time for philosophizing, what I meant is that to me, no one is normal, everyone is strange, especially me.

This summer wasn’t normal either, not at all. It’s almost like a paradox, what I write is so personal and unique to me, but in the same sense, it’s universal and probably many people could identify with it. There is no particular point to my writing this, except to use it for an outlet for all my emotions and feelings. The other point is so that years from now I can read this and remember it all.

I tried to do this last year, last summer was eventful, too. The only problem was that it was left undone. I was writing it in the back of this notebook I had, and I wrote during study. As time went on I got bored with it and forgot about it and I began to use study to do my homework that was due the next period so I never really had time for it anymore. Then I made the big mistake. At the end of the school year, I was cleaning out my locker and I wanted to be nice to the environment so with any old notebooks, I ripped out all the pages and recycled them. Then I threw the spiral part in the trash because that couldn’t be recycled. Unfortunately, what I had written could be, and was, recycled. I didn’t even realize until a long time after the fact that all that writing was gone. Even now, I still chide myself for that, because even only one year later, I don’t remember everything that happened.

Besides, how accurate is memory? I’ve been told that I have a really good memory. People used to tell me that all the time when I was little. Also, I can do well just looking over something once and memorizing it. Last year on a Friday we were told in Chemistry that we were to have an Element Bee on Monday and we got copies of the periodic table. I told my parents about it and they, as always, expected me to do well on it. I completely forgot until study, which was right before Chem. I just kept thinking, “I have to do well on this or they will kill me,” so I looked over the elements a few times and as it turns out, I won!! I beat the smartest kids in my class, people who’d studied all weekend for it. I wanted to brag about it so much, but I couldn’t because I’d led my parents to believe that I really studied for it. That is a lot of who I am, I like to procrastinate, and I think that I can do some of my best work under pressure, or at least I know I can work under pressure. Of course, this does backfire from time to time.

So what was the point of that? I was beginning to discuss memory, it’s controversial. It can’t be exactly accurate because you’re not there living it at that exact moment that it happened, it’s after the fact, and it can be affected by personal biases, but it’s as close to the truth as one can get. It never even occurred to me how inaccurate and biased memory could be, until I read the introduction to The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. Now memory seems sort of illusory and dreamlike to me. I do think my memory is pretty good, though, if I do say so myself, but it’s not perfect, and it gets worse as time goes on, there are certain things I am fuzzy about, but for the most part, I think it’s okay. The meaning of all this gibberish is to apologize if anything I write is incorrect. I’m not perfect, what can I say?

When I was in about fourth grade or so, I used to sort of narrate my life inside my head. I know it sounds crazy but it’s not really. I just said to myself, “If I were recording this, or writing down my life story, what would I be saying?” And inside I said everything, but then two things happened. One: I tried actually writing it down once. I did it in class once on a piece of paper. Later my teacher was cleaning out my folder and found it and asked me if it was some writing my mom asked me to do. I told her yes, but I was deeply embarrassed, and never attempted again. Two: I realized that a complete thought can be a split second and while you are finishing talking or writing about one, a million more have come and gone. Needless to say, I soon gave up trying to record my life, and in the 7 years since, this is the closest I have ever come to trying again. Of course, though, I can’t get every thought, and I’m only trying to get one portion of life. One season out of one year that meant the world to me.

Everything happened this summer. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, (There I go using Dickens’ words again. I have no idea why, the only book of his I ever read was Great Expectations, for school, two summers ago.), it really was. As much as could have happened did. I grew up a lot this summer, I think so at least, it’s changed my life, whether for better or worse, I’m not sure yet, but I’ve changed. I’ve learned a lot. Just thinking about it gives me elation and joy, but also deep sadness and sorrow. It really meant the world for me, and I wouldn’t give it up for the world, even the bad things.

It was the experience of a lifetime, in just a few months, and this time I will finish telling about it. I have this whole outline of everything I want to say, in case I get sidetracked. I don’t have the greatest history of finishing things, but since one of my biggest ambitions I’ve had was to be a writer, I will. I’ve dreamed of being one for years, and I still have that ambition to drive me forward to get this done. Besides that is my burning desire to share my experiences with the world, whether the world cares or not.

I do have a few warnings before I begin. I’m not the happiest person you’ve ever met, and you may be surprised to know I’m a lot happier now than I was most of my life. It’s like I was born with feelings of rage just seething inside me, but most of that has cooled down, so I’m better off now, but I can still often be sarcastic, cynical, bitter, jaded, sardonic even. This isn’t a tale of happiness and sunshine and it doesn’t necessarily have a happy ending, because this is reality. This is completely uncensored (except for the parts my brain has blocked out because they were so traumatic), this is the truth, to the best of my knowledge, and nothing will be purposely left out for the good of the reader, (Ooh, I hope my parents never see this, seriously. For them I need to edit), because, selfish as it may sound, this book is more for the good of the writer. This book is just overflowing inside me and I had to let it out and I also needed to quench my thirst for it. It’s a passion. While I write this, I feel something burning inside me telling me to go for it and get this done even if I go blind from staring at the computer screen for too long.

Everything in here seems to be a paradox. As I said before, it’s unique to me and my life, but it’s also universal. Most people have felt how I have. Another part is that I said I’ve changed, and I have, but I’‹m still the same person, if that makes any sense. And this a sliver of life, there is so much more about other times in my life that remain unsaid, but it’s also everything, or at least enough.

It’s actually just a very small, narrow glimpse of life, a synopsis of a few months in a life that could be much, much longer, but it’s sufficient. Also candid. If you dare to read this entire book, you’ll experience every human emotion, in essence, I’m exposing my heart and soul to all of you. (Cringe). I’m sharing with you a summer of hope, a summer of love, disappointment, fear, jealousy, apathy, joy, resentment, anger, sorrow, and many more things that can’t even easily be put into words. Most of all, I’m sharing with you a Summer of Dreams.


So this was the “prologue” to a “book” I tried to write at sixteen. Maybe my second attempt at memoir. As I mention in the piece, I’d started writing about the previous summer but got distracted and eventually threw out the writing. For this one, I had it all laid out, outlined, table of contents and everything, and wrote about three chapters then got distracted and didn’t finish, and maybe that’s a good thing. Still, I find it interesting that even back then, more than half my lifetime ago, I was using lyrics as chapter titles. This one was from the song “Tonight, Tonight” by the Smashing Pumpkins. Oh, 1997.

Check out the Samples Page, as well as Published and Early Work, to read more of my writing!

~Emilia J

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