When my Dad died in 2003, I found in his wallet a cutting from my primary school magazine. It was of a few lines that I had written way back in 1980, when I was eight years old.
I had no idea he had kept it.
Of course I don’t remember writing it. It made me wish I had kept all my old books and jottings I made all those years ago.
In that same school I won a Halloween story-writing competition, where we had to write a story and present it in a self-designed cardboard cover jacket. I do wish I still had that one.
All I can remember about it now is that it was a werewolf story, based in an English country village setting, somewhere out in the sticks, and as usual, I had left it until the night before it was due in to write it. I rushed ahead with it until I approached the end where the werewolf would be shot and its identity revealed. I hadn’t yet decided who it was going to be, (for in effect I was making it up as I went along), and I had a great idea.
The hero of the story, an outsider who was a new resident of the village, had been given a gun and the required silver bullets, by one of the old locals. What if that very local guy was the werewolf-wanting to end his own shape-shifting torment in a suicide-by-cop scenario? That would be a great reveal.
I flicked back through the preceding pages, and damn! The man had been present when the werewolf had crashed through a cottage window in an earlier scene. I had no time to rewrite it. (I still haven’t learned that lesson.) I had to finish on the ineffectual revelation that the lycanthrope was some bloke that worked in the village pub. How lame is that?
The story, coloured-in cardboard cover and all, is long gone, along with every other juvenile tale that I used to while away the hours creating, lost to time and numerous bedroom clear outs.
After that school magazine-published dwarf description, the earliest example of any surviving creative endeavour of mine is a poem that I wrote about a vampire (werewolves and vampires-that’s the kind of kid I was), when I was fifteen years old.
I include it here for posterity. Please go easy on me, you harsh critics, for I was but a wee, pimple-faced bairn, scribbling away in my den as I listened to the Top Forty.
Union Of The Night
He heard a tapping at the window,
A scraping sound of dread.
He looked to see her waiting,
calling him from his bed.
She filled his heart with terror,
but with a longing, just the same.
He was afraid, but strangely attracted.
She called him by his name.
He was entranced by her beauty.
Her face so pale, so white.
She said:"I will make you as I,
and we shall share the night."
After she had seduced him,
yet left him oh so cold,
she soundlessly vanished,
into the night so old.
And soon he also followed,
and joined her for all time.
Two lovers who frolic together,
when the midnight bells do chime.