Thursday, April 30, 2015

As you can see, my writing hasn't changed all that much...

by Giselle Renarde

A conversation in the comments of a 2013 post here at OGG got me searching for a book I wrote when I was nine.

Back then, I was all about the fan fiction. Usually I wrote stories about cartoon characters. Sometimes I'd rip off of a Quebecois children's series called "Sophie, l'apprentie sorcière" (written by Henriette Major, published by Editions Héritage).  I loved these middle-grade books about a funny tomboyish witch-in-training, when I was a kid, but you can't get them anymore, as far as I can tell.

This is your lucky day, because you're about to read some of the earliest Giselle Renarde writing in existence. 

Stick around for Sophie va à Hollywood!

Don't worry; I'll translate.

That "Bravo!" sticker is the best review my work's ever received...
Once upon a time somewhere in Giselle's brain...

It was the first day of June. Hervé (I don't remember who he was--their teacher?) told us we had to do a play, but not just a little skit, it had to be exciting.

"I know which play we should do: Pretty Woman," said Antoine.  (umm... A. not a play and B. not appropriate for nine-year-olds)

"Yes, that's a great idea. I'll be the 'Pretty Woman'," said Chantal, shaking her hair. (okay?)

"Antoine, you can be the boy who..." said Sophie.  (who... pays for sex?)

Ooh a picture!
"YES, I KNOW SOPHIE!" said Antoine. (you know Sophie? or you know, Sophie?)

"Tomorrow is Saturday. We can go see the film," said Chantal.

The next day they went to see the film. Sophie's gang rehearses the play. When they return to school, Hervé wants to see the play. (look at his big nose. haha)

"You guys are so gifted that you could go to Hollywood!" said Hervé.

They were so happy that they jumped in the air and sat on the light fixtures.

The next day was Friday. (wow, they lost a whole week) Sophie's gang took a plane to Hollywood, California. They were all excited.

"Now we can be on America's Funniest Home Video's"! ([SIC!!!]) said Antoine. (it's 1990, yo!)

Image: a movie theatre with extraordinarily long grass outside

When they get off the plane, they see their names in lights: "Chantal Rose, Sophie Cooper, and her friend Antoine in Pretty Woman." (i guess they're IN the movie now) They all go to the mall.  (can you tell I grew up in the burbs?)

"We're in Hollywood!" said Chantal.

"Sophie, we can change our name to the Pretty Woman gang," said Antoine.

"That's a great idea," said Sophie. (no, she would have punched him for questioning her authority)

"We have lots of money. We can live in Hollywood," said Chantal.

The next day they went to San Francisco to see Bob Saget. (HA!) They had... (ooh the suspense is killing me...)

$100! We're rich! Backwards dollar sign!
...a lot of fun in Hollywood. But one day they only had $100, so they went home!

(Well, that's it.  I'm sorry there's not more because I'm pretty sure I peaked in Grade 3. The end.)


  1. "Bravo!" indeed! Félicitations à [pour?] la jeune Giselle!

    I like how the third kid just gets billed as "her friend Antoine." The perils of being a kid-lit character known only by a first name! By the way, I see that Sophie is still alive and well in various Canadian libraries (according to WorldCat).

    Last time we were in Hollywood, I did go to the mall! Which is usually not my thing... but my wife was using the rental car that afternoon, and I was more or less stranded at the hotel in Culver City, with a big shopping mall virtually the only thing in walking distance. So I phoned a good erotica-writer friend (with whom we'd had a more normal get-together earlier in the visit, i.e., we all went out to dinner). She lived relatively close, so I said, "Hey, if you're not busy, do you wanna go to the mall?" Words one never expects to hear oneself say!

  2. I just love the part where they're down to $100 and have to go home. There's Hollywood for you.
    Simply charming, Gisselle!

    1. I was thinking $100 should have seemed like a lot of money to me as a kid. Seems like a lot of money to me now...

  3. I wish I could find my writings from that age! I can't even remember whether I was writing before about fifth grade, when I started on plays representing holidays or whatever we were studying in history, and the teachers forced my much-suffering classmates to act in them. Come to think of it, I'm just as glad I can't find them. My classmates did not always suffer in silence.

    Your Sophie stories, however, should have been a big hit.

    1. My mom worked in an office with a laminating machine, so sometimes she would laminate the covers. It's probably her fault I'm an author. :-)

  4. Fabulous, Giselle! But it made me realize you're SO young! You were just a kid in the nineties.

    I'm also fascinated by the fact that the story's in French. Is that your first language?

    I'm sure I have some of my writings from that period. I don't know if they'd be quite so stimulating!

  5. Enchante, Giselle! I assume that since Sophie is still only an apprentice witch, she couldn't just make money appear out of thin air! (And I assume that young Giselle didn't really understand how Pretty Woman earned fairly large amounts of money in a short time.) I especially like seeing the actual handwriting of nine-year-old Giselle.

  6. How cool to have something to connect you to the person you used to be! We spend only a year in each age we are, and it seems so long, especially to kids. But the older we get, the more we realize how quickly everything flies by. How fun that you still have this, your first book!

  7. This is the most adorable thing I have seen or am going to see this month. I especially love the annotations by adult Giselle. "(the boy who... pays for sex?)" lol forever


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