Sunday, 8 September 2013

Nostalgia and intergalactic bravery from my youth

As a young boy I marvelled at the night sky. Star Wars happened when I was in primary school. I'd devoured Star Trek, Buck Rogers, Blake's 7, Doctor Who and every other bit of sci-fi by the time I left secondary school. I was always a total nut for what might be out there.

I used to write a fair bit as a young teen. My stories were always of heroism and grand adventure. Fuelled by the cinema and adventurous fantasy TV shows of the day I'd disappear to my room and write out sheets of ideas for how my hero would overcome evil in distant worlds. It saddens me that I don't have a single one of those notebooks in my possession as an adult. I wished I'd had the foresight to see that someday they might be useful or inspiring. I guess college life, girls, sports, cars and beer all took over and writing silly short stories would have seemed pretty lame.

They say we regress a fair bit the older we get.
I'd go along with that. I'm probably more in to computer gaming now than I ever was. I've even contemplated trying to encourage some close friends to dabble with AD&D. I never much participated in it as a boy and feel now like I may have missed out on something fun.

Something that I never lost was that wide-eyed wonder when looking out over the night sky.
I remember as a 12 year old sitting in the window bay at home looking out at the moonlit, star-speckled sky and thinking about epic tales of interstellar action.
Amongst the writing projects that I have sat in a pile on my desk just now is a small thing entitled "Boy finds a starfighter". It's never come to much but I needed to keep the title scribbled down to serve as a prompt for a pretty adventurous high concept.
I gave the young kid a name, a personality, an home, an high school, some friends and a wild imagination all of his own. The character has depth and is ready for his first adventure. I just never got around to crafting the rest of the story.
Truth be told I have countless scraps of paper with similarly vague titles that serve as prompts for when I get the chance to pick them up. But the boy and his starfighter is something particularly close to me.

The kid in the tale is of course me. Damned easy to write about someone you know so well so modelling the character around my own character as a youth was a simple choice. I also know my own strengths and weaknesses. The drama would wrap my countless weaknesses pretty well. By the end of the tale I'd like to think I would have grown with the character. I'd love to see him develop in to the kind of kid I'd always wanted to be. Strong, sporty, energetic and full of natural confidence. I was popular amongst my peers and a section of the girls in school but I never quite grew to be popular amongst the teachers. I kind of existed somewhere beneath their radar. In my story I'd place my young adventurer in the middle of the school system and show him to be smart. I'd also keep him as an anonymous hero. The payoff for such a cliched setup is always fun.

I really need to clear my desk so that I can pull out this 30 year old tale and take to the heavens to battle hideous hordes of aliens.

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