While I was writing my last blog post I was trying to remember the very first thing that I wrote.
I will apologise once again for bringing up JK Rowling, but my first piece of fiction (that I can remember) was very similar to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
I was in Year 4 of school and our teacher Mrs McAteer was arranging a class assembly. I can’t recall if there was a theme, or if it was just a loosely-connected series of skits, but I seem to remember that we were all asked to get into groups and write something that we could then act out.
We had a small green triangle, some sort of stone – green onyx or something, the type of ‘gemstone’ that one might acquire for twenty pence in a museum gift shop – as our inspiration. I can’t remember now if we were given it, selected it, or indeed if we got it from a tacky museum gift shop.
I was grouped with three friends of mine, Gary, Christian and Simon, and we came up with a story about four student wizards. We were to play a character each and we wrote the piece together, writing our own dialogue, while I naturally wrote the connecting prose – although a play, it wasn’t written in script form.
I was ‘Stupid Smee’ a dim-witted, simple fellow, Christian was ‘Jungle Jack’ a fairly average student who was actually a bad guy, Gary was ‘Scorpina Scorpion’ a foreign exchange student and Simon was… ‘Magic Martin’
The stone – acting almost like a portkey – magically transported us across to a jungle, similar to the Forbidden Forest, where we had to fight a Voldemort-like dark wizard who wanted the stone to help him live forever, much like the Philosopher’s Stone.
In Smee we had Neville Longbottom, Scorpina was our Ron Weasley, Martin was our version of Hermione and Jack would have been the equivalent of Malfoy.
We were Harry Potter without Harry Potter.
Thinking back, I found myself amused by just how much like Harry Potter my untitled first project was…. And then I remembered, I was in Year 4 in 1995 – two years before Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published.
I now can’t help wondering if JK Rowling ever visited a small primary school in Swindon, and watched a group of eight year olds pissing about in a school assembly.
I’ll let her off – I’m sure no copyright infringement was intended.