A story originally published online in the literary journal 580 Split (and now posted here as a separate page–see ‘Other Works’ in the menu to the right), ‘Harold Digs His Way to China’ has beginnings I’m fond of, and which illustrate just how little you need as a writer to be launched into a world not your own.
Having owned an independent bookstore, I am fierce about supporting them. But I do enjoy browsing the Amazon site, not so much for the reviews as for the lists. One day I was researching graphic novels, and came upon the reading list of a precocious high school girl who clearly felt she wasn’t getting a compelling education at school, and so had set about putting together her own alternative education–which included everything from Classics to graphic novels. Here is her Amazon profile:
I’m Kitty, a 15-year-old girl built for speed and eating chocolate. Dad says I have an artist’s fingers so I must create constantly. I’m not the best artist, but some of my work is very nice. I draw manga and anime for a hobby, and to get extra money I write books, but none are successful. All I’ve ever gotten are rejection letters, so if you look up Kitty W in the author search… I won’t be there.
I simply couldn’t get this girl’s fierce, singular, restless voice out of my head. Though the story ultimately became more about the father, she was my way in. Thanks, Kitty, wherever you are.