As a young child of eight, I remember having one ambition. That was to be a writer. I was an early reader for the time, going through all of the Enid Blyton books to be followed quickly by the Hardy Boys and pretty much every other book I could get my hands on. I remember even being teased in grade two for checking out one of the later Mary Poppins books from the library. Then one day my mother brought home a few books from the The Investigators series (originally titled Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators) and my path was set.
I wrote some early stories back then that were praised by the school administration…they even suggested to me they be published. Potentially this was just to bolster the bruised ego of an emotionally weak child but whether that was true or not it worked. I was excited about writing and I took to it like a fish to water. My father obtained for me an ancient Underwood typewriter and I spent hours in my room typing away. This was soon replaced by a slightly more modern version.
I have no memory of anything I wrote on either machine, except for one story that I submitted to my grade six teacher in Kleinburg the week prior to moving away. I was so proud of that piece. It came to me in a dream a couple weeks beforehand. All I remember of it was that it involved a special magic diskette that two boys and two girls were searching for. There was a sewer tunnel with some kind of monster that was likewise seeking it out. It was inspired by the anticipation of getting my very first computer. It was forgotten all about in my excitement to move, and I regretted it’s loss for a long time.
There are only a couple mementos that I kept from all of my days at Kleinburg and that includes my grade three workbook that includes the stories that were praised. One of these days I will bring them out to show to my sons.
After settling into life in a new town and new school, I focused more on computers than writing. I still kept up the occasional story, but my patience for detail was narrowed. My chapters tended to be too short and I remember having my ego bruised by a friend I asked to critique due to that. My last youthful kick at the can I had was a horror novel I was writing called “Life as we don’t know it” which was pretty much inspired by Stephen King’s The Stand. I rewrote the first three chapters at least seven times, twice because I lost the source files and the other times because I wanted to try to change character perspective. I was pretty proud of it, but it only made it to five chapters before I lost interest altogether. My life and priority was changing quickly, and writing took a back burner. I wish I could see that story again, but as with the Commodore 64 it was written on, it’s long gone. I may revisit what I remember of it one day with my adult eyes, and take it in an original direction.
I didn’t write anything new until after I left college. My friend Greg was an aspiring poet and he inspired me to write my own. I loved the feeling of writing again, and once I worked out that poetry had a rhythm and tempo that I could experiment with I threw myself into it. I started by keeping a notepad on me while working at Canada’s Wonderland and in between the Great Canadian Minebuster cars being loaded and unloaded I would lean against a post and write. I worked through the majority of my depression and anger in this method. Most of these poems were dark. Answers to ex-girlfriends, loneliness and an angry rebuttal to Kurt Cobain’s death are part of those. However, there were shining moments of positivity and hope interspersed…so don’t get the idea I was some angry beatnik. The poetry did exactly what I needed it to do. It focused my thoughts so I could get on with life. Because there was a lot of living to do.
I’ll continue this on Saturday.
Tomorrow night will see the return of Thursday Distraction followed by Poetry Friday.
Music I was listening to while writing this: The Dandy Warhols – Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia
Podcast Of The Day: Stuff To Blow Your Mind