The Early Signs
Have you ever been so fully engrossed in a task or activity, that you completely lose track of time? As the hours pass by they seem like minutes, and you may even skip meals without realising it, until you have finished. All the while, the whole process is pleasurable and fulfilling; it gives you a sense of meaning, and you have the constant urge to just keep doing more of whatever it is you had been doing.
When was the last time you felt like this? What were you doing?
When immersed in something that you are passionate about you may completely forget about the world around you. This is how it feels for me when I am writing.
I often have the desire to discover more about myself as a person, it’s ongoing actually. I’m always trying to understand what it is I am passionate about, what drives me and gives me fulfillment in my daily life, and what motivates me. This then leads me to think about my childhood; I wonder did I show any signs at a young age as to which path I would follow and find myself on today.
The things which we enjoyed doing so much as children stay with us into adulthood, but as is so often the case, ‘life’ gets in the way and we just can’t find the time to do them anymore. I am no different. A couple of years ago I discovered a priceless artifact from the past; one which made me realise that one of my childhood passions had indeed slipped away from me as I got older.
We were moving house a couple of years ago and I was given the unforgiving task of clearing out the attic. It was there that I uncovered one of my creative writing notebooks from primary (elementary) school, buried among old photo albums and family heirlooms. It was filled with short stories I wrote when I was in 4th class (9 or 10 years old), and although reading them aloud made me cringe a little, it was both entertaining and fascinating to get a feel for what went on inside my head all those years ago.
I’d like to share some of my stories with you, but before I do I should briefly mention a couple of things.
- My 10 year old self wasn’t too fussed about spelling, grammar, or making sense in general, and I made a conscious effort to edit the original writing as little as possible.
- You may notice some stories have an 18 certificate beside the title. These were genuinely included at the time of writing. (If you are under 18 years of age please, at the very least, ask a parent or guardian to read the story to you.)
- The names of the people and places are real, including teachers and childhood friends I had at the time. (Tom if you’re reading this, thanks for the inspiration!)
The Narrow Escape
Hi! My name is Patrick P. Hyland and I’m a secret agent. My mission is to smuggle out the Queens jewels. I was surfing on a nice summer day, when suddenly I felt an arm grab me. It brought me down to a huge submarine, it was just then I was unconscious.
When I woke up, I was in a sub. ‘Hey, what did you scumbags do to my surfboard?!!’ I said. I didn’t know where I was going or anything, so I just acted normal. ‘If you want to know where you’re going, look at the map’ a voice explained. I looked at the map and found out that we were going to an old castle ruins in the countryside in western Seattle.
Then I heard the two men discussing about how they were going to kill me. I didn’t know what to do, so I went to the place where the two baboons kept the door. I found the door, opened it in a flash, and luckily my surfboard was there!
I pressed the button; ROCKET BOOSTERS!! I flew out of the sea and escaped. ‘PHEW’ I gasped, ‘That was close’. I checked back in the ocean and you’ll never believe it; the jewels were there all along!!
Well that’s another mission accomplished by Patrick P. Hyland, ‘The Super-Secret Agent’. BANG! CRASH!!
Back In Time
One day I was reading a book about Fionn Machuaill and the Fianna. ‘I wish I could go back to the time of Fionn and the Fianna, it would be brilliant!!’ I thought. I closed the book and turned off the TV when all of a sudden a surge of electricity went through my body. I flashed like a sparkle, and found myself in the time of Fionn and the Fianna.
I was sure I was dreaming. I didn’t know where I was. ‘Hey there, Fionn Machuaill and the Fianna’, I said! ‘I’m gone back in time! I don’t believe it!!’ ‘HEY YOU, GET BACK TO WORK!!!!’ Fionn screamed! ‘Gosh, he’s really mad’ I thought.
I looked over at Fionn and saw him touch some sort of fish. It must have been the salmon of knowledge. ‘This is really interesting, and the best part is I don’t have to go to school for a few days! Cool!!!’ I thought. As I went over to Fionn, I started to panic and kept wondering what to say. I touched something electric, and all of a sudden I flashed back home to my seat in front of the TV. ‘WOW, this means I can flash back through time by electricity! Cool!’
I went to tell Mammy but decided to keep it a secret, there’s no point in telling her. ‘Patrick, it’s time for bed!’ she called. ‘Coming’ I shouted. I hopped into bed and fell asleep.
I woke up the next morning, rushed down the stairs, ran into the kitchen and flicked the kettle. I flashed back to Fionn and the Fianna. ‘Eh Fionn, could I join your Fianna??’ I asked. ‘Yes, but first you have to pass three tests’ he said. ‘Your first test is to jump over this stick, which is as high as your hips. GO!’ I ran really fast and I cleared the stick by a fluke! ‘Phew, that was close!’ ‘Outstanding, your second test is to learn 12 books of poetry off by heart’. I was lucky because I was excellent at learning. ‘Right, are you ready? GO!’ said Fionn. It took me a good while to learn, but I got through it in the end.
There was a woman coming home from the storm
The wind was blowing more and more
She fell and broke both of her legs
The bag fell and out came some clothes pegs
Then came a young man
He went to buy a frying pan
I think his name was Walter
Then he fell in a puddle of water
Then there was a young girl
The wind gave a whirl and then a twirl
Then she took out her big umbrella
When she got home she told her Aunt Cella
The Island of Boogeymen (18)
I was on a private cruise. The only people on board were myself and the skipper. I was interrupted while eating my banana split, the skipper told me that there was an island ahead.
I quickly got out of my bathing suit, changed into my crocodile leather clothes and placed my lucky tiger tooth around my neck. I was all ready for it.
When we arrived at the shore I jumped out and explored the unknown island. I heard a noise and followed it to a cabin. I tried to open the door, but it was jammed. It was then that I remembered my martial arts. I did a karate kick on the door, and it opened.
When I went in I saw a ghost that was visible. When it saw me it shot something out of its eyes. ‘Aaaaahhhhhh!!!’ I shouted. I took the pain, and it disappeared. Another ghost (I called it a boogeyman) sneaked up on me and tied me to a thick steak.
Then I saw my skipper, Thomas Boland. He set me free. I did my karate and killed the ghosts a second time. We jumped back on the ship and went away.
It was the year 2000, my skipper Thomas died. Scientists say he died from a curse from a ghost. His will was left on the seat of the cruise ship. I opened the envelope, and inside was a check for 1 million dollars! I was stunned, but I was already a multi-millionaire. So I decided to give it to the cruise ships to repair all the damage done to them.
After that I lived a sad, lonely life. I bought a memorial of my dead skipper Thomas with the leftover money. I also put his lucky captains hat on his grave.
Suddenly, I heard a knock on the door. ‘Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!’ It was a boogeyman. He stabbed me. I lay dead on the floor.
The Golden Glory
I was a really good athlete and I really wanted to get to the Olympics. One night, I dreamed about getting through to the Olympics. At the sprint I pulled my hamstring, and couldn’t go on with the race. Suddenly, I woke up.
It was three o’ clock and time for the decider; who would go forward to Sydney for the Olympic games. I was very confident.
On your marks….Set…….Go!!
I was in the lead, but someone got in front of me. Just at the end, I leaned forward and the photo finish showed that I had won by a nose. I was relieved, because I won by a pure fluke!
I sprinted all the way home. When I got home, I was so happy that I kicked a hole in the wall, I kissed the dog, I flushed the fish down the toilet and jumped all the way down the stairs.
When the final arrived I was ready for the gun.
On your marks…..Set…..Go!!
I was ahead and going for glory. ‘Aaaaaaahhhhhh!’ Unfortunately, I pulled my hamstring like in my dream. I was disappointed but when I got home I told myself, at least I went for golden glory.
I can’t remember ever laughing as much when I read these stories again with my family all gathered around, and I will be forever grateful that Trish decided to keep it all these years. Irish mothers, and I’m sure mothers in general, have a tendency to hold onto random memorabilia they don’t need just for old times sake; hand-print paintings from art class, embarrassing and unflattering bathtub pictures, paper clippings from your football games, you name it. This was a gem though, so thanks Trish!
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, it’s rare that we can find the time in our frenetic adult lives to do the things that brought us so much fulfillment as children. I feel if we can tap into our inner child from time to time, we may find that it can bring joy and happiness into our day, and may even re-ignite a smouldering passion from within.