I was thinking the other day about my early writings. They're lost unless, well, there's one box in the attic I need to check.
But I can still remember vividly the moments of their birth. I must have been in kindergarten for a while because I knew how to make letters. I just didn't know how to read or spell.
It was probably the absence of reading ability that spurred my creativity. I had a Tarzan coloring book, you see. My old man was not a strong reader of pulps in his day, lacking the dimes required for their purchase, but he read Tarzan as a kid and Dracula and a host of other books for boys of the late twenties and early thirties.
From one of my aunts, I got the story that a lot of kids in the family were scrapping over the Stoker novel when news of its adaptation as a film reached rural Louisiana.
Drac probably got a mention early in my childhood, but Tarzan was probably deemed a little more appropriate and thus the count had to wait until I was a teen.
Lord Greystoke, however, was in the house very early on. The coloring book I remember, which I can't find online, must have been a tie-in with the TV series because the illustrations included Jai, Tarzan's sidekick on the show, who, correct me if I'm wrong was a carry over from Tarzan Goes to India, right? The kid who played Jai on TV was somebody else in the Mike Henry Tarzan movies, though.
Anyway, I couldn't read the captions in the coloring book so while I colored everything magenta, my favorite color, I imagined my own stories to go with the pictures.
Magenta only came in a larger box of crayons and of course it was the first to be used up, and it was hard to convince my old man I needed a new box since I had hardly touched sepia and burnt sienna and why was Tarzan diving into a magenta river anyway?
Anyway, I imagined my own stories and when my mother came home from teaching school I asked her to spell words for me and, in magenta of course, I wrote my own Tarzan captions, retelling a new story to go with the pictures. I don't remember much about what happened or if I improved on the coloring book's story.
What one I can remember is a bit of dialog: "It's pretty far to the village." Tarzan to Jai as he looked down from a tree.
I never said they were complex captions, but those were good times, and I guess that was when I got the spark.