I think I have wanted to author books since about the time I learned how to communicate with people. Besides for the epics I constructed with an imaginary wolf pack that lived in the woods around my house (they eventually left me for the colder north, where there would be more meat and snow), from a very young age, I collaborated with my siblings to have ongoing story arcs involving our Lego adventurers (who time-traveled in an ever-changing RV, complete with rocket ship) and Safari Ltd. animals (Spinosaurus had a star-crossed love affair with Hammerhead that was never meant to be).
What really put me in the “chair”, so to speak, though, was when my father put a Macintosh SE in our playroom. The computer was such an endless fascination to me, and between the only two options of either SimpleText or Chess (which I always lost), SimpleText became my window to a whole new world. I was around six or seven then, I suppose.
It turns out that the very first stories I ever created in my life, my parents kept carefully boxed away in storage, so basically twenty years later, I can actually share them with you here.
First up is my story about a “horse” (read: fire pegacorn) that gets captured. I think I wrote this while I was in the conference room of my dad’s workplace. He used to take me when there wasn’t a babysitter around, so I’d just have a bunch of thin paper and some coloring utensils around. I was probably around six.
“The horse. It helps people.”
Why Little Me thought rabbits lived in trees, I will never know. Probably came from one of those David the Gnome‘s episodes.
Early Influences: Watership Down. Keep this in mind for later.
Easter Egg Detected! The swan was drawn from a pastry my mom used to buy once a week when we were good, from a fabulous French bakery called Zoe’s.
“People have got the horses.” Dinosaurs and pegacorns being stolen for human amusement! Smells suspiciously like The Last Unicorn…
“The horse is now in a parade.” Animals being forced to perform cheap tricks? I have a feeling Dumbo may have scarred me a little…
I’d be too, if I were being forced to live as a living fountain ornament.
No words needed. Black Beauty made me cringe every time I thought of a bit in a horse’s mouth.
Watership Down‘s most terrifying experience was definitely the wire snare that Bigwig got stuck in. I probably watched that movie too much (I now have a tendency to kill my favorite characters in the most violent way possible).
But, somehow, happy ending! Yay! Pegacorn turned into a real horse?
Silly dinosaur, cards are for people.
The second story was written on the SE, with two of my siblings as a collaborative effort. I’m guessing this was when I was seven or so.
Like a typical 80s child, I was overly impressed by clip art.
Note to future Alex: If your story only has one chapter, it is not a chapter at all. Also, learn to follow through with your plots. Sheesh.
Note: Sabertooth and Mountain Lion are the same toy, a female African lion that changed species depending on the time period we were setting the story in. Clearly I didn’t know how to keep things consistent. Also, I still own these toys (and play with them every week with my students).
And the final story I’ll be sharing here is Zebord and Drake, a story that, I think, best shows the sort of writer I would later mature into. I even tried to make a faux cover by gluing my illustration to a cardboard sheet. Covers are important, yo!
Cover: Heavily influenced by 90s Lego horse armor.
This one even got a title page!
Holy smokes, Batman! Exclamations!
Admittedly, I still enjoy sweet-sounding chapter titles that have nothing to do with the content of said-chapter…
You go Zebord. I was rooting for you from the beginning! Villains rock! ….but seriously, what was in your golden basket? (Actually, I still remember. It was his heart.)
And so ends my first post for A-Z! Check back tomorrow, for a much shorter post to make up for this very long one today.
Tomorrow: B is for Books!