My First Novel
My mother and
I began our Series of Firsts one year ago. The other day we were
reflecting not only on all the new things we've seen and done this
year, but on all the first times we've experienced throughout our
First time travelling
alone, without parents. First time in a new country. First day of
school, first part-time job (stuffing envelopes). First real job
(assistant to the managing editor at Air Canada's en-Route magazine).
One memory that
sticks out for me is the summer I wrote my first novel.
a couple of short stories already, as well as a few sticker-stories,
with specific words in the tale indicated by way of stickers - shiny,
fuzzy, scratch 'n' sniff. I'd just completed the fourth grade.
obviously made up a lot of my day-to-day experiences, so I wrote
a story about a new girl at school. I called it The Strange Girl,
and wrote it on yellow looseleaf, in pencil (this was back in the
80s, when all I had to do every summer was eat and sleep and swim
and play, and had no electronic toys or online world to distract
Eventually, of course, the girls in the story bonded and made friends.
I still have the marked up copy somewhere, showing the few edits
I made on the initial draft.
The main aspect
of the plot involved toilet papering, or TPing, the new girl's house
at Hallowe'en. I must have read a children's book that features
TPing, because I sprinkled the acronym TP all over the story: during
the girls' planning sessions, on Hallowe'en night, and in the aftermath
of their escapade.
When the story
was finished, I showed it to my mother. Her one comment - well,
she might have said more, but the line I remember is - "you
can't use the acronym TP without explaining at least once what it
because the novel that I'd read hadn't explained. Why did I have
to spell it out?
The year after
that, I read The Lord of the Rings for the first time, and discovered
that when J. R. R. Tolkien was a child, he'd also written a story
and showed it to his mother. Her comment? She "pointed out
that one could not say 'a green great dragon', but had to say 'a
great green dragon.'"
From then on
I cherished my mother's words. If it could happen to Tolkien, maybe
it meant I was destined for great things too.
by Deniz B. Bevan:
Pâté or Pouding Chômeur
Ice Apple Wine
Montreal Is An Island
Ideas for Your 'Staycation'
Istanbul: I Only Have Two Days To See Everything!
Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Bladeby
Approaching Ireland by ferry...
Just Plain Nesin