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4. Tell us about one of your first stories/characters!

Heh. I could easily point to this post about my wonderful installment novel starring Brian and Charity, my long-suffering 2nd grade classmates — but since I’ve already mentioned it (and more than once, I think) I guess that would be sort of a cheat.

Let’s go even earlier, before I started writing them down.

When I was a verrah young thing, before we moved into the house my father built for us (this puts me at about 6, fyi) we had two guinea pigs. One was named Budgie (I have no idea why; maybe we all really wanted a parrot) and the other was named Mr. T.

There’s really no reason for that name either, but it is a pretty hilarious name for one of these:

you don't know it, but he pities the fool

I’m sure we were dead serious about it as kids, though.

I also had, aside from two squeaking rat-pigs, three siblings. One of them was probably too young to really enjoy either the pigs or the stories, but the other two were old enough that they can remember this, which means there’s no plausible deniability for this period in my life, alas. Anyway, since we were all 6 or younger, we weren’t so big on writing things down; and yet, we needed entertainment, so we came up with a sort of rambling, stream-of-consciousness collective oral tradition. We all got to tell the stories, sometimes all at once.

Cousins and friends were invited to join in when we had sleepovers; we remembered and retold somewhat mangled versions of previous adventures, and Budgie and Mr. T had many strange and surreal experiences all over the world, often related in some way to whatever cartoon we’d seen most recently. I think they even had their own motorcycle with sidecar.

I’d love to relate one of these to you here, but a) I don’t remember more than fragments of them (mostly I remember how funny we thought they were) and b) I seriously doubt they’d have the same effect now. Let’s just enjoy the thought of a guinea pig named Mr. T and leave it at that.