I went up to the attic today and found exactly what I was looking for.
A Diary of a ten year old.
You see, I’m working on a new novel and my two main characters start young and grow up during the course of the story.
It’s a bit of an epic.
And it’s going to be fun.
Hopefully as fun as looking though my diaries and seeing how much of a geek I was.
When I was little I started up an ‘Animal and Tree Rescue Club’ which took place in our Assembly room while we waited for our parents to collect us.
We didn’t do any actual rescuing. We just swapped stickers (two shiny ones for a furry) and wrote fact files about our pets.
Eg. Animal: Hamster
Nickname: Blobus, Bobby, Blobby-Blob, Tom.
Likes: Eating, sleeping, Me
Dislikes: Our cat
Some say I was a despotic leader.
They were the ones I expelled.
I expelled them because they were fighting each other and I couldn’t afford to let them ruin the image of my club.
Such disciplinary measures might sound alarming coming from a fluffy-haired, toothy ten year old who couldn’t even spell disciplinary if her life depended on it.
However I have evidence that suggests I wasn’t all bad.
Along with my diaries, I also found a letter from the RSPCA thanking us for our kind donation of ten pounds.
So, there we are, proof that I was a strict but effective leader.
I have no idea where the ten pounds came from since we never did anything useful enough to raise money. But I’m sure it was got through fair means.
The club was obviously a key part of my life as a ten year old.
My diary begins with a promise: I promise that I will do my best to look after trees and wildlife.
And then I wrote down a Law.
Yes, an actual Law.
And it was this: I shall not tread on, or say ‘ergh’ to eny Animal or Insect.
Ah, but humans are weak.
Since then I’ve brutally murdered many insects, including a memorable and most satisfying splat of a big black buzzing creature against a bus window.
It may have been the last one of its species but at least I didn’t say ‘ergh’.
Sixteen years on and the pages of my oldest diary are still scented.
My diary reminds me of a time when stickers and toy trolls were the centre of my world, and boys were of no interest and generally annoying.
Even at ten I wanted to be a novelist, (July 1994: ‘I’ve started a new book which I’m going to get published’) and the attic is full with mini novels, including ‘Evil Eyes’ mentioned on the back of my book Shop Girl Diaries.
I can’t help grinning when I flick through all those early pages.
They mark the very beginning of a dream.
True happiness may exist in the present.
But for a moment, I drift into the future and visualise my first best seller.