When I was eleven, I was a prolific writer. A thick blue file folder in a sturdy brown storage box at the back of the office closet attests to this aspect of my literary history. The stories themselves are odd at best and embarrassing at worst. Why in the world would a child in Guelph, Ontario, be writing about a girl and her totem pole? My best guess would be inspiration from a primary school lesson on British Columbia. Such lessons do not, however, explain the rather graphic cover images of these particular gems:
“Fear of the Unknown” comprises awkward dialogue and imaginary newspaper clippings full of spelling errors, including this masterpiece about vampire victims:
Surely my love of Little House on the Prairie and Holly Hobbie did not inspire my apparent interest in the horror genre! Memory fails to enlighten me on this front.
However, one memory from my primary school days as a would-be writer does remain seared in my mind. In grade three, my teacher at University Village Public School brought baby bunnies to the classroom and asked us each to write a poem about them. I loved the bunnies; I loved my poem. But it does not reside with my other juvenilia in the blue folder. My bunny poem was destroyed when it was torn to shreds. “If you had written the poem yourself,” my teacher said to me, “you would not be crying.” I was crying because I had been accused of copying the poem out of a book when I knew I had written it myself. She had no evidence, but she would not believe me.
Yesterday, forty years later, I received this box of books from ECW Press:
The Alchemists’ Council has finally arrived, and several volumes are now neatly stacked on my bookcase. Yes, I have had other books published. But this one is different; this one is the book for which I have been waiting since the day I wrote that bunny poem. This one is the book I would like to hand to that teacher.
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