I think everyone goes through the phase of wanting to write a story for children. There’s a lot of people that always just seem to talk about it. They have an idea, they just need to put it on paper. Usually when I hear about it, the conversation always results in “Would you like to draw for me?” Of course I’d never mind, why would I want to pass up on an opportunity to draw?
The Bug of writing a Children’s Novel has hit me as well. I had a lot of years of inspiration. Dr. Seuss, See Spot Run, and Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Raven‘ to name a few. I even created for myself a signature character for such a venture into the kiddie books. Daniel Wyke, a happily reluctant character with unwillingly bizarre life. It’s miserable whimsy. Kind of like how your favorite books to read when you were a child are actually quite dark in their original form? That’s what I’ve always had in mind with Daniel Wyke.
So I set out to write one called Daniel Wyke vs. The Sunless City. Here’s the fun part, The Sunless City is actually a Terrible book that my Home Town is linked to. The Main Character of that Book is the name of this Town. It’s actually quite the old book as far as I know, and at some point the Local Library bought the rights to the book. So now for any intent and purpose, the Flin Flon Public Library owns what is possibly the worst, most obscure book ever written.
That being the case, I took it upon myself to use it as a template for the story I wanted to write. Daniel Wyke loses his girlfriend to a society of ugly underground creatures that treat her like a queen. I set out to write it. I did a draft or two, and I was happy with how it was going. I was really set to do this! I drew Daniel, I drew the Girlfriend! The Ugly creatures too! but it was now my turn to ask someone to draw for me. (Sure I could easily do all the work myself, but what’s the fun in that.) I knew what I wanted in an artist.
Jordyn F. Bochon is an artist that I met through other artists. I’ve only really met her a couple of times, but there were the odd things that we helped each other with. I lent her some of my acting chops, so I thought it would be fun if she lent me some artistry for this project. I sent her an email, she replied back. We decide to meet at the steeps tea house in Kitsilano. It was exciting, the idea to be working on something like this.
I’ve never been to Steeps before, it was nothing but tea all over the place. Tea is the one thing I’m not good at drinking. Well I’m aware that I can’t actually be bad at drinking tea, but I don’t really understand all the different flavors. It’s only been Red Rose my entire life. I chose whatever they suggested and filled it full of liquid sugar. I was fascinated by the concept of Liquid sugar as it’s something I’ve never seen before, so that pretty much meant to sweeten the hell out of the tea.
Eventually Bochon arrived and we got right to it:
This story begins on an average day.
At the end of the street on Kristopherson way.
Just coming home from a brisk morning Hike.
Was a tall Skinny blonde man, they called Daniel Wyke.
A walk through the woods, at a bright morning hour.
He set out to find the most beautiful flower.
As soon as he found one, he just couldn’t wait.
For this ecstatic man had an important date.
Agatha Spencer, was his lady in waiting.
For a total of 2 years and 5 months they’ve been dating.
Her looks were so stunning, his heart would just race.
Which is strange for a girl that does not have a face.
“Hold up, ok… So she doesn’t have a face?” Jordyn asked with some confusion, “How does she eat? see? breathe?” I scrambled for words.
“Well, I don’t know… it’s whimsical fantasy. It’s just who she is?” Everything sounds stupid when I try to explain it, so… “I’m sorry, but that’s her character?” I digress, I never intended to explain her character because it was part of a completely different story that I wrote. I so figured it would have been a story for another time.
Upon his arrival, she hugged him so tightly.
For she could not see, smell, or kiss him politely.
He gave her the flower, which would stir a buzz.
But she could only imagine just how pretty it was.
“Plus come on! It’s such an adorable Tragedy… right?” I’m starting to fish. “It’s an endearing character flaw. I mean.. I know not having a face is incredibly unrealistic. But for some reason, it’s kind of fascinating to me.”
They would walk through the park, both hand in hand.
Which is usually all that they ever have planned.
But today their routine would change them forever.
When Wyke stumbles upon an oddly placed lever.
“Strange, That’s out of place I would think.”
Said Daniel Wyke, With a head tilt and blink.
But a move in a way that would make him look ‘dull’.
Without an assesment he gave it a pull.
And in that very moment, Like a thin paper sheet.
The ground opens up under Agatha’s feet.
Without Pause she falls, Into a dark pit.
He stands over top like a dumbfounded twit.
“Why is this Lever there?” She asked.
“That’s what he’d like to know.” I quipped.
“And he would just go ahead and pull it like that?”
“Well… he wanted to see what it does. It’s not like he knew, and then asked his girlfriend to stand there so he can play a joke on her.” I didn’t know what she was looking for.
“It.. it just needs a little more.” she says as she continues to read.
“Agatha Dear, Are you okay? Did you die?”
Screamed Daniel Wyke, knowing she can’t reply.
I liked that part.
Hessitation at first, then a very loud “HRUMP!”
To help get her back he decided to jump.
While falling down holes, you could always assume.
That what’s waiting for you at the end, is your doom.
He then hits the bottom, and what he saw with a rise.
A city of gold. Now that’s quite the surprise.
A sight so bizarre, but not too absurd.
Was a pure golden city, where no presense stirred.
He look for a clue, as to where he had gone.
and spotted a sign title “Esnesnon.”
“Esnesnon?” She asked.
“It’s Nonsense backwards,” I said, “It’s a part of this old story that Flin Flon was named after.”
“Haha, Flip Flop.” She laughs. I get that a lot. Flin Flon is a funny name to a lot of people. You get used to it.
“Hello,” He shouted, “Are there people around?”
Then, came there a figure, to respond to the sound.
A short fuzzy creature, with a human like base.
With a tail and some ears and the ugliest face.
This is where I showed her what I wanted the creatures to look like. As ugly as I could possibly make them. I had various assortments of short fuzzy creepos From just being plain to wearing fancy clothes. They are a civilization after all.
“I’m looking for someone. you there, can you help.”
The creature replied by giving a yelp.
and points at a castle, up on a large hill.
But something about it gave Daniel a chill.
When arrived at the castle, at the top of the way.
was an animal chancellor with too much to say.
“What is your business?” he asked like a quip.
“My girlfriend,” Said Daniel, “she went for a trip.”
The chancellor explained, ’bout a dream induced nap.
Of a woman, fell from heaven, and into the town’s lap.
She was gracefully fit, and no face to be seen.
The odd creature, convinced that the girl was their Queen.
Jordyn was puzzled again. “How come he can talk and the other one couldn’t?” I didn’t really have much to explain about that one.
“I imagine it’s because he’s just higher educated. The leader of the people you know? He’s the one that brought them to their state of society.“
Daniel knew, that in order to go back to his world.
He had to convince she’s no Queen, just a girl.
Which upset the creature through all of his jeers.
From the end of his tail to the top of his ears.
So angry, the chancellor, at the top of his breath.
Ordered his people to stab Wyke to death.
He panicked as the came faster than a trickle.
Daniel found himself in an awfully large pickle.
With adrenaline pumping his actions from a scare.
He was determined grab his girl and get out of there.
Runing from Mobs, To the end of the hall.
Where his girlfriend sits vacant and confused at it all.
Running and jumping and a high scoring flip.
Unravling his scarf, using it as a whip.
She grabbed onto his shoulders and jumped on his back.
They bust out of a window, and into the black.
“This happens too fast.” She says, “He should have more of a battle with these creatures or something you know? Really give it to the little bastards!”
“Yeah I guess so,” I replied, “I just felt I needed to go with a specific amount of pages with it.”
“Oh no man, you have to go all the way with this! As much pages as you need!”
Defeated were the creatures of ugliest faces.
as all were afraid of the highest of places.
A burden which filled all the creatures with doubt.
That Freed Dan and Agatha, to find a way out.
In moments, they come to a familiar space.
Where all of the nonsense distinctly took place.
While carrying her home he swears right there and then.
To never pull questionable levers again.
“That last line was a little cute, but like I said guy it needs a little more! Especially near the end.” I didn’t want to admit these things, but she was probably right. My loophole for myself, which is actually a bad habit of sorts is that I never want to bother with a lot of exposition. A lot of what I tend to write is usually momentary, I never like to explain.
But I’m not very good at explaining or being descriptive. But I was willing to do whatever I could to get her to picture how she wants it to look. She had lots of questions though, more than I was anticipating. apparently my perception of how a kids book would be is incredibly far off. But that’s probably my fault. A little more research here and there and a little less worrying about how to rhyme. You look at something like Dr. Suess and it’s done well enough that you’d never have to question it. The last thing I’d want is a child coming up to me telling me why they don’t get it, instead of enjoying it for what it is.
After we met and talked about the story, and after she filled my head full of questions, I lost myself a little bit in it all. I became a little overwhelmed about it and shrugged. Basically deciding that the story was a lot more work than I was ready for. So I put it on the back burner, not completely getting rid of it, but keeping it safe for another time when I knew what I was doing. Or I could always write something different…
The Story of ‘Candide by Voltaire’ is about a character that is, in much ways, similar to Wyke. Unfortunate circumstances, one after the other. Sure Candide is a little more darker in tone than Daniel Wyke. Though I really enjoyed all the terrible things that happened to Candide, because it’s all taken with a grain of salt. A lot of the poems you’ll see of Daniel Wyke that I’ll throw here and there definitely that sense of terrible circumstance. Maybe the steaks aren’t raised as high, but the things that happen to Wyke are horrible. As it is a great source of inspiration, I definitely think I’ll stick to a shorter bit of poetry to play with. At least until I can figure this story out.