Don’t worry; I’ve not lost my mind. I’ve not really turned into the cult 90’s icon of cartoons and games. All will become clear; allow me to explain.
I’ve often wondered when I first took to writing. What it was that captured my imagination in the way other hobbies couldn’t. What was it? When did it start?
Last week I popped round to see my Mum with my fiance and after a solid round of coffee and biscuits, she leapt from her seat with an almighty, “Oh! I almost forgot!”. My Mum is nothing but joyfully spontaneous and surprising at times.
5 minutes pass and she returns with a crudely handmade booklet. It was a story that I had penned as a little kid; scrawled in bad handwriting (that hasn’t much improved in the intervening years) on notepaper from a educational trip to Littlebrook Power Station that my Dad had taken me on. Now that I think about it, my childhood felt a little like a mix of being homeschooled and learning traditionally. Anyway, that’s by the by; back to the matter at hand.
One of the first I would guess. Here goes nothing…
“How I Turned Into Earthworm Jim” by Robert Trott
It was a summer morning and I was playing with a dead worm. And I felt a bit dizzy. Two hours later…I started to transform.
(There’s a breathtaking picture of me transforming)
My arms started to disappear. So did my legs. I WAS TURNING INTO EARTHWORM JIM! It was my best experience in my life. Earthworm Jim is my favourite superhero. I thought about what I would tell my Mum.
(A grotesque drawing of me as Earthworm Jim; possibly down to low level drawing skills at the time…)
I thought I could use my helicopter, head into my bedroom and make a robot disguised as me. I tried it and it worked! I tricked my mum into thinking Earthworm Jim had come round to visit us.
(A charming representation of my Mum, Earthworm Jim Me, and Robot Me. Keep up…)
Three days later…my mum had a bad suspicion about how long the transformed version of Earthworm Jim was staying.
Two hours later…my mum asked the transformed version of Earthworm Jim if she could be paid every week.
“How can I pay my own mum my own money?” I said.
One hour of thinking later…”Yes I can look in the library for a book of cures”.
(No image on this page. Possibly due to the abstract nature of the plot. That and the amount of time that keeps passing)
A day after childrens programs later…”At last a cure for transformations. Now I can show my mum that the robot version of me is not me by breaking it.” Three hours later…”I just don’t get this it’s just stupid.”
(You and me both, past Rob)
“Huh! Huh! I get it!”
“Jill! Can I show you something downstairs”
“Ok” Said mum.
“Mum this is not Robert”
“What do you mean?”Said mum.
“I mean, just watch this!”
Transformation spell disappear instantly, “Wow I’m glad to be back mum”
I know right? Genius…
Then I turn the page once more and see the following:
Other books in the series
How I turned into Buzz Lightyear
How I turned into Blades
How my mum had the best mum’s day ever!
Then it hit me. All these characters from my youth in shows and films were like catalysts to my young noggin. Showing me what was possible if you just think and allow yourself to let your imagination run wild. I didn’t have my own characters yet, but I had theirs.
The next bit is maybe cliche, but the second thing that dawned on me once I’d caught my breath from laughing so much from my ridiculous story, was that my parents were such a monumental key to unlocking what I wanted to spend my life doing. They may not be storytellers themselves but that’s besides the point. For every time they took one of these ridiculous books to their heart and didn’t laugh, regardless of the content, it was telling a young me that was scared and worried about being odd that it’s okay to want to create and make daft stuff; in fact, it’s wonderful.
I’ll try not to forget that.