sara spelled without an “H” was getting bored

A few weeks ago I was required to write a six page autobiographical piece about someone else.

I know…”autobiographical” kind of means “written by oneself about oneself,” but my professor said that usually those kind of essays get too confessional for her tastes, so she preferred it if we would simply make up a fake autobiography (in other words, she couldn’t give a Bill Clinton about us or our lives, and would rather read about the lives of people who’ve never existed than deal with our emotional baggage all semester).

Which was fine by me, because I love that kind of crap—really, love it. Creative writing is great, see, because it’s really hard for people to read it and say, “No, that’s bad,” or “You misspelled gouge;” in creative writing, confusing “gouge” with “gauge” is actually something people do for artistic impact. It’s all very freeing.

As it happened, I wrote my autobiographical piece about a girl named Danger, and it got a 9.5 out of 10 (I don’t know why I lost a half a point…my professor never made any notes on it). Still, I was pleased with Danger’s grade, and someday I’ll post the piece here, but only if it doesn’t get published in a literary journal that I submitted it to last week.

(Apparently, then, this blog is just a landfill—a funeral home for me to dump and cremate all the mental word garbage for which nobody else will give a proper published burial. Poor you guys.)

Anyway, I only settled on Danger after writing about lots of other girls first. And today, as I was sorting through a stack of mish-mash papers kicking around the office, I came across the first three paragraphs of one character whose story didn’t make it to my professor’s desk.

Thar she be.

(Awkward that I just wrote “thar she be,” right? I know. Sorry about that.)

I reread it, and I sort of felt bad that my little friend would never see the light of day. I thought she deserved more respect than that. And even though I didn’t trust her to see me through a creative writing assignment, that doesn’t mean she’s totally worthless.

So she’s going to get her moment of glory here today.

(Remember, this is not me or my parents I am writing about; this is another person. If you start to feel bad for me, you shouldn’t, because I am not her, and she is not me. That’s just how it has to be.)


Everything about me is ordinary. I was born and raised in the same mid-sized suburban city, I got average grades in school, I have dirty blond lifeless hair, and my teeth aren’t very white. I didn’t have braces, but I needed them. I went on a few dates, but only when I asked.

My name is Sara, and my parents didn’t even have the decency to give me an “H” to pretty it up a bit; there’s Ben Folds a song about people like me. I’m like “Ann without an ‘E'”—Sara without an “H.” Sarah, plain and simple.

But in my head there lives another me. She is the better of us, the one whose parents sprung for straight teeth and a car on our sixteenth birthday, the one who experiments with ways to make our mousy hair more vivacious, the one who turns down dates because she has that option. (Me? Well, ya can’t refuse what you’re not offered, right?) The me inside my head is Sarah with an “H.”

She’s not perfect, though—I’m so bland that my imagination can’t even conjure up perfect self. I just can’t imagine what that would be like, to be perfect.

No, Sarah with an “H” has faults: She is greedy and self-centred. She was spoiled growing up and consequently believes—truly believes—that the world revolves around us.


And that’s  as far as the Sara/hs ever got.

It’s too bad, really, because it could’ve been interesting, writing an autobiography for two people rolled in one—a twofer. (I’ve been waiting to use that word on this blog since it got stuck in my head last week; good to finally have it out. [I like it ’cause it looks like it should be pronounced so different from how it actually is.])

Anyway, there’s no real point in sharing this except that I want to throw away the paper but I felt bad for my imaginary Sara friend/s, so I’m transferring it to the old blog (again with the mental mind dump), and tossing—no, recycling—the loose leaf.

Maybe someday I’ll share what’s scrawled on the back side of the page.

It’s titled Barack Obama Killed My Mama.

I might have to wait until every member of my fairly-ultra-conservative extended family is dead and gone; I’d be disowned otherwise.

Even still, they’d probably roll over in their graves.

I’m a black sheep, what can I say?

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
This entry was posted in blogger finger, It's All Good, mediocrity, mondays suck, oh brother what next, short stories/vignette and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to sara spelled without an “H” was getting bored

  1. Geevz says:

    Do you realize that you have written the most perfect YA lit character? You just need AnnE to get into drugs or have an eating disorder. Or a slightly happier turn where she becomes Ann with an E while being forced to live with her grandma over the summer. I already know this character with a few paragraphs.

    Lovely, darling. Lovely

  2. Anonymous says:

    I really enjoyed Sara/Sarah. Isn’t it interesting how an additional letter to one’s name can make or break it? Like Rachel or Rachael. I think about aels differently than I do els. Weird, huh. Anyway, this could have been a really cool diatribe about a schitzo girl. Reminiscent of the Yellow Wallpaper, or whatever that short story was we had to read sophomore year. I don’t think you should totally do away with it. Let Sara and Sarah marinate in your head for awhile. They might still have more to say.

  3. Spencer says:

    Second on the schizo idea. Sara/h needs to keep on going. A bit of editing could be useful for what you’ve got, but it’s nothing a few workshops couldn’t iron out. Did you submit Danger to Superstition Review or another publication?

  4. Shesten says:

    Hey. I was on the Barack Obama train once. Once. And I wouldn’t hold it against you if you were… :o)

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  6. Whitney says:

    you seriously right like a champ. I think you should have short stories on here atleast once a week.

  7. Joel says:

    I got a paper back a few semesters ago that had just a grade, and it wasn’t a perfect score. So I e-mailed the professor. Why did I seemingly arbitrarily lose points on this? I don’t care if I got a (whatever score here), but at least have the decency to tell me why!

    He got all up in arms. Thought I was arguing my grade, which I truly wasn’t. I just wanted an explanation. Anyway, after having the TA reread it and him actually reading it, and having the co-professor of the course read it, I got some decent feedback. I didn’t request 12 people to read my essay. I certainly wasn’t arguing my grade. But he took offense anyway. Whatever. I took offense to his course. I could share more about this story if you want, but you likely don’t want, so I’ll stop and make my concluding statement now.

    If you want to know why you lost points (or half a point), and it isn’t indicated on your returned assignment, it is certainly within your rights to ask. The professor has to tell you something.

    Sorry that this comment has nothing to do with the point of your post! :)

  8. Maureen says:

    I like that song. That Sara was a bit crazy as well.

  9. Remember how I hate writing and I’m bad at it? Maybe I’d like a creative writing class. One of the two last GE’s I have to take before I graduate is an advanced writing class. Hopefully I can do creative writing and actually enjoy it… maybe even be good at it like you!

    I always get words stuck in my head. It’s annoying!

    David and I watched Million Dollar Baby for the first time last night. When you mentioned the name Danger it reminded me of that movie. It was awesome. I don’t know why we had never watched it before.

  10. Rachel says:

    Well done on the 9.5! I really admire anyone who can create good creative writing!

  11. lindsay says:

    can i just say your comments on my blog do wonders for my self esteem? okay..just so we are clear.

    and now i will have ben folds stuck in my head for the rest of the week. good stuff.

    also, i am putting in a request for you, for the next time that you come to AZ. I know visiting your family and chelsie are slots 1 and 2, but 2 1/2 should be having a craft night with me and chels….there’s something therapeutic about burning ugly fabric into a cool flower thingy.

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