Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved to read comic books. Her favourite of all was Harold Hare’s Own Paper.
Never heard of it?
HHOP was a weekly comic-book newspaper with full-colour illustrations. It came all the way from Britain, probably by ship, which was why the date on the front was always a few weeks behind the date it hit the Australian newstands.
Anyway, I’m not about to give you a history lesson in comic books of the 1960s. Suffice to say I stayed up late of a Friday night, waiting for Dad to come home the next instalment.
I don’t usually make a habit of remembering comic books I read as a child. But this one episode stuck with me for a lifetime.
It went something like this.
Harold Hare had nothing to do. He was bored, bored, bored. (In HH’s world, TV hadn’t been invented, there were no phones, and computers were something in a Jules Verne fiction.)
His friends were busy doing other interesting stuff and he wasn’t invited. So he was a bit miffed and lonely. Poor Harold didn’t even have any books to read and it was hours until bedtime.
What’s a poor creature to do? He tried to think of how to pass the time, but nothing caught his fancy.
Then he had an idea. (This is where the plot got interesting for the little girl reading.)
He wrote a book of his own.
How cool was that? He sat down with pen and paper and wrote himself a story.
When it was finished he made himself a cup of cocoa and tucked himself into bed for a good read.
That odd story planted the seed in the little girl’s brain.
I must say, that seed took a long time to germinate. But when it did, it was unstoppable.
What prompted you to start writing? Can you remember?