Edward was a child. Nine or ten years old, he was just entering the fourth grade. He read horror novels, or rather horror novellas that had been mass-marketed to children of his age that were after cheap thrills and goosebumps. After reading some of these serials, he decided to try his own hand at writing. Nobody knew where it came from; the culture, the horror movies that he had frequently watched or maybe it was just life. But his fantasies, even as a child, were filled with nightmarish visions. Visions of men dressed in armour killing one another in vicious scenes, visions of houses that came alive and spewed forth bloody massacre onto the streets, and most disconcerting of all visions of strawberries that came alive and played baseball. Perhaps the latter was the most horrifying because beneath the surface show of violent visions laid a childlike innocence filled with wonder and awe.

He proclaimed to the other children that he could all, ‘Whoop their arses,’ when it came down to writing. What he, in fact, was challenging the other children to was a game of the imagination. A game of fascination and proclivity of fantasy and visions. He would not shut his mouth up about it. And with good reason, the loner that the child was, he spent his spare time writing in incoherent verse and playing outside alone with the products of his psyche.

The teachers, seeing Edward as the loner he was, decided to shut the little shit up. So they arranged for a writer and illustrator of storybooks to come in and conduct a contest. Edward was among those selected to compete. The competition would take place over several weeks at one hour interval sessions where the children would work with the writer and illustrator to produce and present a storybook.

Before they began they practiced a writing exercise where they would determine their individual potential as a writer by placing a paper-clip on the end of a string. The children were then instructed to move the paper-clip with a soft motion of the fingers. Edward’s went wild as he exercised the muscles of his fingers as he would when writing. All the other students had minimal movement. The writer came up and told Edward to stop it. Edward asked why and the writer said that he wasn’t doing it right. Edward ceased the extraneous dexterity of his fingertips, minimizing the effects.

The children all sat behind desks arranged in a horseshoe. The writer and illustrator separated and began working with the students, engaging in a brainstorming session with each individual student. The writer approached Edward and asked, “So do you have any ideas for what your book is going to be about?”

“Me? I’ve got plenty.”

“Like what?” Asked the writer.

“How about a monster that gobbles up small children and there’s lots of blood and guts and stuff.”

“You can’t write about that?”

“Why not?”

“It wouldn’t be appropriate what else do you have?”

“How about an ancient order of mystics who have a code for unraveling the secrets of the bible?”

The writer, pondered, at that point in time the Da Vinci Code had not yet been published, “You can’t write about that either. It’s too complicated.”

Edward sighed, “How about a boy who’s being bullied and gets revenge on the bully by exposing his secrets?”

“Yes, that will do fine.”

The writer walked away and Edward sighed to himself. If he wasn’t allowed to write about what he wanted to write about and there were restrictions placed upon his mind, how was he meant to win the competition?

Edward watched as the writer approached a girl who sat at the opposite side of the room. “So do you have any ideas?” The writer asked.

“I can’t think of anything to write about.”

“Why not? Come on, just think. I’m sure you can think of something.”

“I can’t think of anything.” The girl made a furrowed brow which the writer thought was adorable.

“Oh… How about a story about the tooth fairy?”

The illustrator came up and said, “Yes, about how the tooth fairy leaves money for good little girls.”

“Okay, that sounds like a good idea.” The little girl shone a smile.

The stories were written over the next few weeks, the pictures drawn and the assistance provided the little girl in every single task maximized, whereas the assistance Edward received was minimal, if not non-existent.

When it came to the production phase, the only student that was allowed to present to the gathering of parents and teachers was the winner. Who was, no surprise, the little girl.

She presented the book, read it out aloud and all the parents and teachers applauded and made little comments amongst themselves about what an imaginative little girl she was.

The evening ended and as the little girl walked past Edward she made the awry comment, “Whooped your arse!”

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