When I was eight

Image by Caitlinator

I’m not much of a fiction writer but the only reason I worked that out is because at school we had to write fiction all the time. Well maybe not all the time but it seemed like our teachers would be much more likely to ask us to write a story than to write some form of interesting non-fiction that wasn’t an essay or a bunch of short answers to questions we didn’t make up ourselves. I didn’t work out that there were other types of non-fiction writing until later.

When I was eight I wrote a short story about getting an answer wrong in class and being quite literally swallowed up by the ground beneath me. I recently revisited this story because I was at a writers’ festival where one of the events involved writers reading aloud from their early work. Now, “early work” was not clearly defined, and I was far too embarrassed to read something from the last few years, and was able to get hold of the 1995 edition of my primary school magazine, where said short story was published. I read it into a microphone for the amusement of a handful of writers at a bowling club. 

What is under the ground, once you have made a mistake and been swallowed up? According to my young imagination, there is a long corridor that ends in some metal bars, blocking you from escaping.

But that is okay because luckily I packed my magic toothpaste!

Magic toothpaste, of course, when applied to metal bars, will dissolve them and let you escape into the playground. It was suggested that the moral of the story is that you should always remember to pack your magic toothpaste. I think this is a very good point, but I think the key thing is learning how to make the ground open up and swallow you. There are times when this would be very handy indeed. 

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