Fans of Who Shot Tony Blair? will know Mumsie as the butler-seducing mother of the future Prime Minister. Others will know her as my actual mother, a long-suffering and patient woman who now takes revenge on my misspent youth by posting baby pictures of me on social media. Mumsie was convinced of my future as a writer long before I was and, like many doting parents, kept almost everything I have written since I was able to pick up a pen. Just recently, some of these illustrious works have resurfaced from her loft and have come into my possession.
It is a very strange thing, peeking back into the mind of my much younger self. I have been reminded, with some embarrassment, that as a young teenager I wrote a trilogy of books set on a spaceship manned by my school friends. There is also a play that seems to be based around getting enough money to put a bet on a horse, which is somewhat troubling. But perhaps the most pretentious is an anthology of poems I wrote in my last year at Hardingstone Country Primary School, when I would have been about ten. I was very happy at this school, a halcyon period of my academic career long before truanting and expulsion became the hallmark of my schooling, where the mood of our Headmaster could be judged by the colour of his cardigan and assemblies lead by the Year Five teacher would be based around how bad her hangover was.
A startling example of my fledgling predilection for excessive use of adverbs and modifiers, this illustrated anthology is an excellent example of why some people should just stick to prose. I will share some of it with you…
I lay looking up, feeling the tree and me as one.
Outstretching arms bring me into the other world.
I am nowhere, but somewhere like a dream.
As I let my imagination wander, I see beggars with long twisting arms calling upwards.
I see green, clumping faces laughing at me as my mind takes me further.
Hope shines on the dark shadowed path as I tread.
Soft, young hands stroke my face as I drift on.
I am not me.
I am no one.
I have no age and no knowledge of anything before.
I am only aware of the future.
I am made of dreams and a mixture of emotions.
Out of bark steps a lady.
Twisted hands and a face with blurred features.
She towers over me and her forthcoming arms cradle me.
She carries me down and as I hang on to the world’s presence, I see pictures.
I am put down with a soundless bump.
I sit up and open my eyes. I am me.
The tree is its own and the world is no longer visible. I am back.
Pretty sure I was far too young to be dabbling in illicit substances, but you wouldn’t know it, reading this. Pleased to see my signature style of first person present tense was in force from an early age, however, and my handwriting is very neat. I wonder what poetic imagery I would see if I were to lie beneath a tree and let my imagination wander, 27 years later…