TAPPING INTO MY THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD SELF
Posted on January 13, 2015
Okay, here's why I like writing. And here's why I'm really liking writing Monsters in Boxers.
It brings me back to my childhood.
As I write, I am getting competely into the mind of my thirteen-year-old self. Yes, that silly guy who wore Boba Fett t-shirts in eighth grade and knew how to draw the Millennium Falcon better than he knew what to say to a girl. The guy who would watch Godzilla movies on the weekends and never missed an episode of Star Blazers. The deceptive tyke who told his mom he was eating a healthy lunch at school and then using the money to buy more comic books instead.
I'm totally tapping into the essence of childhood with this project.
There's a delicious amount of joy springing forth from the pages as I reread them. What makes it even more exciting is that I'm not just recalling my childhood and settling for fond memories of being a kid in the '80s, but I'm also working in tons of what it means to be a kid now. Thanks to being deeply embedded in my own children's life, were talking deep cover, I'm finding the book has generational resonance. There's something for me and my son.
A recent chapter gave me a chance to blend experiences from my childhood with the sensibilities of being a child of today. Yes, Saturday nights were spent reading a stack of comics. No, the Bigfoot vacation idea never materialized, but wouldn't that be cool if it had?
The cards in the sleeves are completely taken from my son who has binders of Pokemon and sports cards littering his room. Here's hoping none of those binders hold secret photographs of his friends as super-powered monsters in boxers.
Ah, I blather on too much. Read the sample chapter and witness two childhoods separated by a huge span of time mixing and mingling.
Reggie checked the weather on his phone. No sign in the next three days of any storms. Maybe Amy and Jason's Dad had been wrong. Maybe they had more time before this Chaos Storm arrived.
It was a typical Saturday night. After dinner, he'd read the latest comics his dad had picked up at the comic shop and then go downstairs to see what classic science fiction film his father had dragged out of his ancient video tape collection. He loved watching movies with him. Last Saturday had been the original War of the Worlds. The aliens in that had been way too creepy for his taste, but at least it had been better than the body snatcher film the week before that.
He was close to his dad. Of all the adults who could possibly understand what the Crazy Quartet were going through, his father was it. The man had monsters and aliens in his blood. One vacation he kept threatening to schedule – but always got vetoed by Reggie's mom – was an expedition to the Northwest so they could track down the elusive Bigfoot.
His own child turning into a super-powered monster defender of Earth, he'd eat that right up.
Reggie knew an adult was bound to find out sooner or later. Why not his dad? He'd be sure to bring it up tomorrow when they were helping Mr. Musselman trim the dead branches from Patton.
He reached under his bed and retrieved the new binder he had started. The first two pages contained sleeves of Spectrum Minotaurs cards, the perfect cover for the binder's true contents. He had jammed forty comic sleeves in the three rings behind the cards and already seven were filled with photos he had taken that afternoon.
The first one of the branch on the ground was the dullest. Photos two through seven showcased pics he had snapped, or mouthed, mostly Amy and Troy in their monster shells. Jason had refused to put on his boxers. Just the same, Reggie had heeded Amy's advice; none of the photos featured any of them as they normally appeared. If the photos fell into enemy hands, like those of the Horde Lord or some mysterious government organization tapped to investigate strange events, they didn't want their identities tied to the boxer-wearing monsters.
Three of the photos showed off Troy's impressive acrobatic abilities. He was like a cat, always landing on his feet, no matter how big the plunge. The one of him leaping off the curly slide tower was impressive. No more breaks or bruises for him, at least when he wore his boxers.
Reggie had two photos of Amy diving into her phone. He looked at them closer. She appeared to turn into some kind of blue energy creature before disappearing into the tech. One photo caught this while the other just showed her emerging from the phone almost reverted back to her normal yellow-and-black self.
The last picture was of his lower half. That had required some major contorting for him to do and, even then, he had only managed to capture from his waist down.
He'd have to stand in front of mirror if he wanted a catch himself in all his furry glory. He looked at his full-length mirror mounted on the back of his bedroom door. Maybe he could do that later, after his mom and dad went to sleep.
His mind circled back to the government organization notion. Lots of films depicted small towns where strange phenomenon occurred always being invaded by government agents bent on ferreting out the truth. Reggie had his doubts that anything good would come from secret agents snooping around.
Would the Chaos Storm be such a weird weather event that it would attract attention or would they not show up until the Horde Lord unleashed his invasion?
Reggie wished they knew more about their enemy. Were they fighting aliens or monsters? What did Horde Lord want with their little town? It wasn't anything special. No secret weapons facility nearby or anything. Reggie couldn't think of any strategic reason their town was being targeted.
Then he shivered, realizing something obvious he had overlooked. There was a reason to come to Lilyville – four reasons.
And if they could find someone named Max who was okay with perfect strangers asking him to try on underwear from the future, a fifth one, too.
He fluffed his pillow and snagged the first comic on the pile. Finally, a series he had been pestering Marvel Comics to make was in his hands. He opened to page one of his father's favorite hero from the '80s, Jack of Hearts, and marveled at the art of Major Golden. By page three, he was completely sucked into the new adventures of Jack Hart, his mind almost distracted from thinking about his own incredible powers.