The Early Years:
An Analytical Survey of Some Crazy Kid's Writings
Introduction: Random Soapbox Babble -- Skip This If You Start Falling Asleep
Children are, by their nature, random, unpredictable, and nonsensical to everyone but themselves. They exist in alien universes where Newton's Laws of Motion yield to Bobby's Idea of Why Mr. Bear Can Fly, where it is transparently obvious that all 100-inch spiders are born with the ability to spontaneously disappear, and where Tony the Tiger regularly visits the local elementary school for no reason. Maybe I've watched The Neverending Story too many times, but I strongly believe that children -- and indeed the world as a whole -- would be much happier if their expressions of themselves and their perception of their world were not dismissed as "nonsense" or "random babbling," thereby discouraging them from using their native mode of communication. True, at some point a child needs to start thinking and behaving in terms of our supposedly objectively-defined "real world," but this "real world" is not by any means mutually exclusive from a child's self-created universe, and should be allowed to coexist peacefully.
Yay for stuff.
Meanwhile, back in 1986, when I attended Duniway Elementary School in Portland (Oregon, of course. Honestly, who cares about Maine?), it was a time when public schools were adequately funded, and, believe it or not, my school had its own in-house publisher. This local publishing house consisted of a friendly typist, reams of colored paper, a comb-binder, and a laminating machine. Students in grades 1 through 4 were given daily creative writing time, during which they could write anything that their imagination dared to dream. Upon completing a story, they could put their manuscript into a cute little box labeled with their name, and at the end of the day the teacher would bring anything in these boxes to the publishing department. A few days later, the typist would return a stack of typed pages comprising the student's story sandwiched between two pages of posterboard comprising the front and back cover. After illustrating the pages and cover to his or her heart's content, the student returned the story to the publisher once again via the Magic Box, into which the comb-bound, laminated final copy of the work was delivered several days later.
In this way did I publish several books during my early grade-school years. Of course, if the rest of this infernal website provides any clue, you might guess, quite correctly, that these stories were a bit, um, odd. Perhaps slightly wacky. Or even a bit ludicrous. But this, as you will see, is a Good Thing. Especially if you randomly re-discover and read aloud said stories ten years later while you're hosting a huge sleepover and it's three in the morning.
The purpose of this section, The Early Years, is to present these re-discovered books in their original form, including all of the spelling/grammatical "eccentricities" that you might expect from a little kid -- or, um, an occasionally sloppy typist. In addition to the original text, each story is accompanied by my original illustrations, which, sadly, far outperform anything that I can draw presently. Where appropriate, I've included some footnotes with regard to some interesting tidbits relating to the original document as it appeared on paper, but these notes will in no way whatsoever attempt to explain or expound upon the text that you are reading... that, of course, would spoil the fun! Finally, for your enjoyment/aggravation, I've included a reading quiz for each story so that you have a chance in hell in understanding what, in the name of God, Pedro Martinez, and Kalkazzor the Giant Chicken, I was thinking while I was writing the damn thing.