The story of my first story

As part of a science unit in the third grade, we kept mealworms. We got them them as larvae and then they’d go to pupa, and eventually a beetle would hatch and we’d let it fly away. Mrs. Massip, my teacher, gave us an assignment to write a story featuring our mealworms as the main characters. I wrote a story I called “Detour to Germany,” about a plane of mealworms that crashed in the jungle en route to Germany. I was proud of the turn of phrase in the title, though I do not remember much of the plot. I think it had plenty of holes, and mostly documented how a group of mealworms try to find their way out of the jungle. One by one they found it harder to walk as they were transforming into pupae. I think they finally just submitted to the process, became beetles, then flew to Germany together with their own wings. Deus ex machina, I guess. It might have been a good children’s story if the subjects had been caterpillars. They are much more marketable than mealworms, and butterflies are much more elegant than darkling beetles. Then again, mealworms are less cliché, and an action story featuring mealworms becoming darkling beetles is grittier.

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