The Tomb of Beledon

It’s a bit disconcerting when forgotten relics of your distant past unexpectedly resurface from the bottom of dusty drawers – stuff you’d forgotten, which abruptly reconnects you with the child you once were.

In this case, I got my hands on some stories I wrote in my pre-teen years. Clearly, I was doomed to plough the fantasy furrow from an early age, since I evidently had a thing about maps of imaginary places even then:

This is from The Tomb of Beledon (a title which I think only really works if you imagine it being spoken by James Earl Jones). The plot concerns a chap called Michael who survives a plane crash only to find himself on a strange island full of tunnels and villages, hostile and out of place wildlife, malign and possibly supernatural forces … yes, if only I’d had some contacts in the TV industry at the age of 12 or 13 or however old I was, Lost could’ve been on your TV screens a whole lot sooner.

I wonder what the me of all those years ago would think if I could reach back and say ‘Keep at it, kid. All this scribbling will pay off one day. Maybe hold off on the exclamation marks a bit, though.’ (The thing’s got a rash of exclamations all through it, like some unfortunate skin condition. Even some of the chapter titles are exclamation marked.)

The thing is, I suspect mini-me would not be particularly surprised to hear he was going to get stuff published one day. At that tender age we – those of us lucky enough to have safe and stable and comfortable upbringings, anyway – tend to live in worlds of possibilities and imagination; the barriers and the obstacles and limitations and difficulties, not just in writing but life as a whole, tend only to become apparent as we climb the ladder of years. Still, it’d be nice to whisper a few words of encouragement in the junior me’s ear. It’s all you can say, really, to any aspiring writer, whatever their age: Keep at it. Get better. Try. And go easy on the exclamation marks.

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