Back in the long ago. Back in the beforetimes. Back when I didn’t even know there was such a thing as fanfiction, I wrote fanfiction.
It was in 1992. I was 19, and while it was my third semester in college, I think I was still technically a freshman because I kinda sucked at being a student. I was in an Introduction to Creative Writing class.
(Interesting fact: Brett was also in this class. That’s how long I’ve known him.)
Half of the class was prose, which suited me to a T. Because I was still working on the dreaded High School Novel, which I was convinced was awesome, even though it was actually pure shit.
The other half of the class was poetry. Which I’d dabbled with, but never really taken a serious stab at.
At this point, I’d already read a fair number of Terry Pratchett’s books. I know this because when forced to write a poem for this class, I wrote one called “A Wizard’s Staff Has a Knob on The End.”
For those of you familiar with Pratchett, you’ll recognize this as a song that is frequently sung by Nanny Ogg. Usually when she is drunk.
At this point, I would like to formally and profusely apologize to Terry Pratchett.
So I wrote this poem for class. And I turned it in to the teacher. And I got it back with comments.
And when the time came for us to read our work aloud to the class, I read it.
That was more than twenty years ago. And I haven’t read it aloud since then.
But I will read it to you now:
When I read it to the class, it was rather gratifying. Everyone laughed. Everyone laughed and laughed and laughed.
Everyone except for the teacher. She just sat there, confused, and obviously slightly offended. When I was finished, and everyone was still chuckling, she spoke up, raising her voice so the whole class could hear. “Well, you don’t have to take it like that!”
And I remember thinking, “Good lord. If you don’t take it like that, there’s no fucking point to the whole poem. How could can you *not* take it like that?”
Anyway, there you go folks. One of the many secret shames I posses is secret no longer.
At this point, I would like to repeat, reinforce, and reiterate my apology to Terry Pratchett.
I had to go digging through my old papers to find a copy of this poem. It took a lot of doing, but I found it. It’s truly a document from a different era, a faded dot matrix printout. (For those of you who even remember what a dot matrix is.)
At the urging of the rest of the Worldbuilders team, I’m putting this item up for auction. I don’t know who among you might want evidence of my shameful past. But if you want to give money to charity for it, I won’t stand in your way.
P.P.S. Mr. Pratchett. (Sir Pratchett) I know you’ll never see this. But if for some reason this ends up on your radar, I really hope you aren’t offended.
The truth is, you’re my favorite author. Your work amazes me, and I know I will never equal it.
When the world gets to be too much for me, I read your books. And afterwards I can move on with my life again. They remind me that underneath it all, people are fundamentally good. They remind me, that the world, while not perfect, is a pretty great place to live.
Or at the very least, it’s a convenient place for me to keep my stuff.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.