A 5000 Words Writing Assignment I Gave My Students

The assignment for my high school students: Be someone famous and create a diary entry from that person’s point of view. This one was so intriguing; I had to join in. Here’s my attempt.

Zelda,

I know you’ll find this after I’m gone. You have to know I love you. If nothing else. This is about me– what is broken in me. Not you or anyone else. This is not me turning my back on you or giving up on you. I would never choose to hurt you. Do you remember the Ferris wheel ride? How you clutched the bar! Your knuckles turned white. I explained how safe we were, but you weren’t buying it. Even though we were together. Not buying it at all. We were high above the cares of this world, but you brought your own in the cart with you, and they shook you out in spasms of terror, your young eyes pleading with me to make the ride stop. And I did. For you. Do you remember how you hugged me as we stepped from the cart? I rescued you from the shaking. And you have to understand I want to be rescued from the shaking too. Only there’s no one to stop the ride. It’s just me. I’ve been strapped in for longer than I care to remember, going around and around… There is no stopping this ride, my love. No rescue. I just have to get off, and I hope you understand. You of all people. There was a time I thought if I was just incredible enough that everything would work itself out. Some things just hit you. The problem with pretending for a living,  and especially with the burden of making people laugh for a living– is that it becomes one big, fat pretense, as I’m sure you know because you know me best of all. I’ve stopped laughing. I want you to know the flaw is in me. I want you to keep me in your memory, for that is the place I wish to be. This is not me walking away from you. Remember that. Don’t think I’m selfish. If you only knew how I’ve tried to stay! You would surely understand how much I love you, and how I hurt to think of leaving you here. But I go, hoping it will be better. It can be no worse than here. By the time you read this, I’ll know. I’m jumping from this ride that refuses to slow down or stop for me. Remember how you plead with me? Now the tables have turned. Only remember how we laughed.

Robin Williams