Friday, August 15, 2008

Death or Survival

I’ve been working today on my novel. I don’t have many words to show for it – 300 or so - but I have made progress. Now I’m tired, but I DAREN’T sit anywhere too comfortable as I simply cannot be trusted to stay awake… Yes, even now, nearly a week later.

So instead, I thought I’d start the first, in possibly a series of posts, about the boxes that my Dad made me sort through while I was in the UK.

I come for strong ‘keep it, it might come in useful one day’ stock, which accounts for the boxes still being there after twenty five years but I married a ‘chuck it, it’s rubbish’ man. I was tempted to throw out the lot without looking through it, (how proud Husband will be to hear that) but there was something specific that I was looking for. Sadly, I didn’t find it but I did find some hilarious treasures to tell you about.

The first treasure was a copy of a novelette that we had to write for homework in my first year at Grammar School. It was called: Death or Survival. I don’t believe it was my first attempt at a novel, but it still makes entertaining reading: it’s so dreadful I can hardly bear it.

Before I introduce you to some of its charms, let me take this moment to apologise to Irish people everywhere – I’m so, so sorry…

It opens with a drunken Captain of a ship, his Oirish deck hand Seamus and Seamus’ immortal line: “Oh Begorra, you been at it again, ‘Sorr.’”

It’s the story of four children: Philip, John, Charmaine, Jessica and their dog, Bongo (yes, really). (Obviously Philip is the oldest; John is his sidekick; Charmaine is vain and a pain and Jessica is wet but will win through…) Because the Captain is drunk the ship is involved in some kind of accident the night after leaving port and the four children and their dog are marooned on a desert Island. Quite which port they’ve left, I don’t specify but clearly, it’s not the Isle of Wight… It’s in the flavour of ‘Lord of the Flies’ and Enid Blyton’s adventures. Clearly I read way too much Blyton.

My teacher’s comments include:
Don’t exaggerate too much – your story loses credibility otherwise.’ Hmm, you think?
Your characters are described well – they are very believable.’ Though cliched.
The characters are very convincing.’ In Enid Blyton's world.

Illustrations by the Author, it says.


Calistro said...

Awww. Glad you saved it. Even though we might cringe at the 'books' we wrote as children I think it's important to keep them. I'm so glad my mum saved all the books I wrote. Just re-reading them makes me smile.

NoviceNovelist said...

Hi JJ, I can relate to your jet lag and box sorting! My upgrade from OZ unfortunatly did not obliterate jet lag!!! I was interested in a little comment you dropped into an earlier post about notions of home. I tussle with this every time I get on a plane between the UK (chosen home for now) and OZ. It's a curse isn't it? I'm not sure what to do with the energy it generates under than 'tusssle' with it for a bit and then get on with living in the moment. Hope your jet lag eases up - sun on the back of the knees is meant to help!

Yvonne said...

LOL I love the Oirish deck hand! I read far too much Enid Blyton too...but like Calistro says it's important that you keep hold of them.

Flowerpot said...

Don't ever throw it away will you?!

Debs said...

What a wonderful keepsake, I'm so glad you still have it.

Hope the jetlag diminishes soon. It took my son about a week to get over the time difference.

Fiona said...

I'm so glad you kept this. Look at how beautifully put together it is and it shows how seriously you took writing at a young age.
I wish I hadn't thrown out my saga of smuggling in Cornwall which was very like Jamacia Inn - almost word for word.

KAREN said...

I LOVE it! It's great to find stuff like that, and as a fellow Enid Blyton fan I can definitely see her influence. I wish I still had my old stuff, but most of it got thrown away after I moved away from home :o(

Lane said...

That's so lovely!

Once a writer - always a writer:-)

Carol and Chris said...

Love it!!! My Mum kept a book that I wrote when I was a kid (about 8?) called Hazel in Wonderland (Hmm...wonder where that tile came from!!). I illustrated it hippo in a tutu is a sight to behold!!

C x

Lucy Diamond said...

Bless!! How lovely to have that. I've got a few similar books and magazines (with prices on the front cover, where I tried to sell them to my younger sisters!). Hope there are lots more treasures to come in the boxes!

JJ said...

Cal, yup, and cringe I did! But I laughed too.

NN, no of course the upgrade doesn't. I'm only just getting towards normal now... I think notice and tussle IS all we can do, but it's an interesting subject.

Yvonne, I'm so sorry... ;-P

FP, Nope, I won't.

Debs, thanks. I'm nearly there. My problem is I drift to sleep during the day or early evening and then I've buggered it all up again.

Fiona, aren't we all funny with our ripped off version of things?

Karen, oh that's sad they got thrown out ... but my parents have 60 years of accumulated crap in their house!

Thank you Lane.

Carol, Hazel in Wonderland? Brilliant.

Lucy/Sue, Prices? Wow, you go girl. What enterprise.