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A High School Classmate Just Got Arrested

March 22, 2017

The mugshot wasn’t flattering. (image via wikimedia)

A high school friend of mine sent me a link to a news story about a classmate of ours getting arrested for doing something stupid.  It was kind of a domestic dispute, and the guy is too old to still do dumb stuff like this, but we weren’t surprised.  With social media, when you do something illegal/stupid in public, everybody is going to know, even people you haven’t seen in over 30 years.

The thing is, the guy who got arrested is mentioned in one of my ebooks The Writing Prompt.  It’s a true story about a few days in my high school life decades ago, and our high school classmate makes a cameo appearance in it.  I changed his name (I changed my name too), but it’s still him (he?).

This kid wasn’t the type to get arrested in high school, but if he had, everybody would have laughed.  He was obnoxious, but you can’t arrest people for that.  I heard rumors that he got a swirly once during our junior year, but he denied it, so I’m not sure (but it probably happened).

I thought about telling my friend about my ebook since our obnoxious classmate is in it.  My friend would probably get a kick out of it.  I’m paranoid about telling people about my blog and ebooks because I have a decent job with no freedom of speech.  If my personal writing ever became an issue, I could get fired.  My employer would never admit that they fired me because of my writing.  They would find another excuse.

A couple years ago, a guy where I work got fired for making a negative comment about the actor James Franco.  One of our bosses claimed to be a college friend of James Franco (he offered no proof), and he got mad when our coworker made fun of him (Franco).  We couldn’t prove that the coworker got fired because of it, but we’re pretty sure.  I’ve written a couple bad things about James Franco’s books on this blog, so I’m not safe either.

Anyway, I don’t tell people that I write anymore.  Back in the 1990s when I was futilely sending stuff out to literary agents and publishing companies, I talked about my writing to my friends and acquaintances, but I’d have to eventually admit that nothing was getting published.  It was disheartening to go to a gathering or party, knowing that I’d be asked a few questions about my writing projects when I knew the odds of getting anything published were pretty much dead.

Plus, friends often asked if they were in my books.  Back in the 1990s, the answer was no, but it was tough to say that.  I think most of my friends were disappointed that they didn’t make the cut in a book that wasn’t going to get published anyway.  I probably should have lied.  Now it’s the new millennium, and my old high school and college friends are in my ebooks and they don’t know it.

Maybe I should go back to The Writing Prompt and add a “Where Are They Now?” section to the end of the ebook.  I know what happened to me, and I know now what happened to the obnoxious guy, but that’s about it.  I don’t know what happened to any of my teachers or to the cheerleader with the really nice legs.  I guess I should have gone to my high school reunions.


What do you think?  Have you told friends or relatives that you’ve written about them?  Have any of your high school friends gotten arrested?

  1. Anonymous permalink

    My students BEG me to tell then that eventually they will make it into one of my stories. I have no idea why….

  2. I don’t put people I know into my stories anymore. It gets too complicated.
    And here’s why before you even ask…say you write your cousin into a short story. And then he does something that your character would never do. It’s a double whammy. First you want to scream but character would never do that at them. And then if you are still working on the story, editing, etc, now your view of your character is skewed.

  3. I wrote a short post about goofy things done by kids in elementary school. In particular, eating library paste, chewing on pencils, pencil erasers. No names were mentioned, but one person got insulted–thought I was calling people out. It was over fifty years ago.

  4. I once commented to two coworkers who were also a couple “You’d better cut it out or I’ll put you in my book.” They immediately replied “What makes you think we don’t want to be in your book?” It is touchy, and I learned to never ever mention my writing…and then I stopped writing, so there’s that. I always felt I wrote better when there was no fear it would be filtered through eyes looking for my ulterior motives.

  5. This is so hilarious but true. I once blogged so much and wrote about everyone in my life that paranoia of them ever finding out got the best of me so I decided to quit that and basically change my style of writing. But this piece right here makes me want to go back there.

  6. blackbirdandsunflower permalink

    Totally identify with not wanting to tell people that you write. Good to know it’s not just me 🙂

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