Last week I was writing about my old writing collections–two binders, one from high school and younger, and one from mostly college–but I didn’t go into much detail. Like I did say in that post, though, the older binder has a title: Short Stories, Biographies, Plays and Other Great Works of Art by Les Beat. That title’s written in different marker-colors on a torn sheet of college-ruled paper taped to the binder cover.
So, what’s in that older yellow binder?
- a one-page comic entitled “The Invasion Of The Carrot People.” Rodger Marks and Mark Rodgers save Old Douglas City from the carrot people with the aid of a giant magnifying glass (Carrots wilt if they get too much sun, you see). But then one of our heroes (I can’t tell them apart anymore) decides to plant more, much to the chagrin of his friend. I imagine I had a plan for more of these, but that’s long forgotten.
- a shot list for a film that was never made titled Fat Farm. This is an odd little thing that I wish I could remember more about (note recurring theme of forgetfulness). It apparently involved me and my friend Barb being kidnapped and taken to the title farm (which was really the barn where Barb boarded her horse George in real life) where we were then tortured and forced to exercise. We break out at one point and raid the kitchen, but then…go back to the horse stall that is our cell because…fuck if I know.
- a poem called “Rubies” that I’m pretty sure I didn’t write. It’s not in my handwriting or my style.
They brought me rubies from the mine,
And held them to the sun,
I said, they are drops of frozen wine
From Eden’s vats that run.
No, I didn’t write it. Turns out it’s a Ralph Waldo Emerson poem. It’s pretty awful, anyway, isn’t it? Eden’s vats?
- a retelling of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” The bears live in a mansion with Paul McCartney, and Goldilocks is 17. Guess who she finds in the little bear’s bed? Yes, I was quite able to write self-insert Mary Sues when I was that age. And very softcore porn, it would seem.
- A Guide To Practical Jokes. Yeah, that one’s even more embarrassing. Moving along…
- A Play. Yep, that’s the title. I also wrote “File under plays” in the upper right corner. My goddess, there were going to be more?! Apparently, so. The characters are noted as being “for whole series.” Fortunately, I only wrote one of these. It’s pretty awful and juvenile, making very little sense, but a group of high school kids are able to show up the cops and rescue their friends who’ve been kidnapped. I labeled most of them as geniuses, so I guess that’s why. Now that I think about it, though, if I were to make everyone legal age and add a monster (like, for example, giant carrot people), this could be something Bill Rebane might film. Some of his films are at least as bad. Don’t believe me? Watch The Alpha Incident.
- and, finally, another embarrassing piece–the titular biography. I’ll just take a pass on describing that one.
That’s it! So, why share this collection of mostly awful writing with you?
Well, it didn’t seem fair to bring it up last week and then say nothing else about it. One of you might have been curious.
Some of it’s embarrassing, some of it’s bad, and some of it’s only interesting if you were my friends at the time and knew what all the jokes meant (so many references to things even I don’t remember anymore). But I still find the carrot people comic appealing. The plot’s pretty basic, kind of dumb, and the penciling could be a lot better, but the idea of killing giant carrot people with a giant magnifying glass from atop a skyscraper still tickles me. It tickled Mark and Rodger, too.
What I take away from looking into the old yellow binder and actually reading these pieces for the first time in a very long time, is that we all start somewhere, and this is where I started, good and bad.
Coming up soon, a look in the blue binder. I’m guessing–hoping!–my stuff will improve. Thanks for joining me.