You’ve seen some of the stuff I’ve put on this site, for better or worse. I write for fun, mostly, and so if anyone does not like it I usually do not lose any sleep over it. But I started drawing story books when I was six years old. In 1997 there was a little movie that came out called Titanic. This post is not about that movie (though on a separate note, if they took Jack and Rose out of it and deleted the scene of First Officer Murdoch shooting himself–which was disputed–it was a pretty great film). I digress. Though when I tell you the significance the Titanic itself had on my young imagination, maybe a film critique would not be the worst thing imaginable.
You see, in 1997 there were many documentaries on television about the fateful 1912 voyage of the RMS Titanic and for some reason it stuck in my mind. I was fascinated by the story–perhaps a bit too much–and I sought to make little picture books of the ship in all of its majesty and destruction. But you know what? I’m leading you on again. Those picture books were the precursor to yet something else: the one I can’t (seem to) write.
It was 1998 that the stories started flowing through my head. We had a calico cat in the house, a beautiful creature by all means, but she was a cantankerous thing. That year, my brother got a gift for his birthday that I did not see coming. It was a miniature Schnauzer.
He was almost the opposite. He was a burly, shaggy looking creature with a heart of gold. The very first night he lived in our house, he challenged the calico’s authority and won. That was the only time he won. I started drawing picture books of them and some of the previous pets that we had. Each had a distinct personality and they played off of each other well. The stories had real world settings and they were largely anthropomorphized, wearing clothes, going to jobs, etc.
As I got a little older, there were words. The stories progressed in ways I did not necessarily consider when I was younger. There were new animals in the family throughout the years and it was interesting to put them in fictional situations to see how their unique personalities melded with the rest of the story going on around them. This was the story I wanted to write.
Throughout the years, I keep putting it on the back burner. I want to put it on the back burner. It is such an off-the-wall story that is brewing in my mind about talking animals, small town satire, and some mild dark comedy. There is no audience for a tale like that. Yet, when I consider that, there’s really no audience for the things I write on here but people read it anyway. It’s hypocritical of me to assume that there is not an audience. I’m not big on talking animal stories (though they certainly helped me get into reading.) I’ve long admired Dick King-Smith, Brian Jacques, and others in the vast genre. King-Smith had realistic settings but the animals were animals that spoke the queen’s English. Jacques made worlds for his characters that were like ours but with hints of the fantastical. The characters often moved as humans do. My stories are not really like either but they move more like Jacques’ characters and have more in common with King-Smith’s. Sort of, anyway. As good as both authors are, they were hardly the inspiration for the stories. The animals and their personalities are the main inspiration.
This is not a post asking for help. I’ve written chapters and parts of the story over the years and it continues to change. It was once a silly string of non sequiturs before becoming something of a school story (written during my school years) before becoming a political thriller of sorts (which is a long story in and of itself; don’t ask.) Now it is basically what it started out as: silly stories but with some satire elements. I’ll probably keep writing these stories until the day I die but I don’t know why. It’s like I can’t just let it go. It feels incomplete: like I need to write it.
But it’s the one story that I can’t (seem to) write.