When I was a child I absolutely loved Brian Jacques’ Redwall books. For those of you who don’t know what those are, his books detail action adventure stories featuring small European animals, many of whom live in a large abbey called, you guessed it, Redwall.
So there are animals such as mice and badgers and squirrels on the good side and others such as rats and weasels and snakes on the bad side. (Some people talk about how awful it is that there isn’t more distinction, that how dare Jacques divide creatures into “good” and “bad” [even though there are many exceptions to this rule] but I find that obnoxious because it’s a CHILDREN’S SERIES—you want adult-level discussion and nuance, then READ ADULT FICTION. [I would also like to point out that many adult books, including ones touted as being transcendent in some fashion, are incredibly simplistic in their definitions of good and evil as well.]
With that tangent out of the way, my very first forays into writing were fan fiction based on Jacque’s books. Particularly poetry. I would craft snippets about the bits of story that didn’t get full accounting in the books. I would wonder about what happened after the adventure or war ended. I would draw pictures of my favorite characters and sob over the ones who died.
One particular couple in the stories I fell in love with was a mouse pair who, after their story, go out adventuring and exploring rather than settle into a quiet life at Redwall. I LOVED this. I wanted to be like them, specifically the female mouse who used a rope like a whip and took down creatures twice her size.
But we never got a story about them on their adventures after they left, so their future was left ambiguous. So I wrote a poem about them :) Talked about how they were out there, fighting and having adventures together. And, of course, had fallen even more completely in love with one another, because even when I was in elementary school that was part of my happily ever after.
I feel as if we all have those things that we grasped at during our youngest years, even if we didn’t know or understand them then. Things that come back and show us who we were meant to be, what we were meant to do. For me, those old, yellowing pages of mice and their poems are one of mine.