• Jason Haskins

Hop, skip, and a jump into my writing past



Every now and then, I've been known to take a trip down memory lane. This provides an opportunity to check in with the past, whether it be regarding life events, sports, or in this case, writing.


Now, this section of the website is normally reserved for news and updates regarding my writing/acting/directing, events around the Treasure Valley, or what I've been watching, reading, or listening to as of late. It's been almost a year now since the COVID-19 pandemic reared its devastating head on the world and, while certain aspects of life have returned to normal, there's not too much to report on in regards to the above topics.


Meaning one thing: March will once again be a detour month. We will hop in the time machine to take a glimpse into my love of being a writer.


Specifically, with a reignited passion and devotion to writing as of late, it is a trip back to the early days of when writing was a mere hobby for me. Days long ago, but memories that are easily recalled and bring joy to my heart.


We first travel back to somewhere between the first and third grades, in which there are two stories I remember writing that stick out in my mind. The first is a story of me running away from home. It's a story of not anything bad happening in my family but instead, a journey for me and friends in an attempt to get to Boston. Why? Well, to see the Boston Red Sox, of course.


The second of my early "stories" is simply titled The Ewoks Join the Fight. Not much is remembered of this story, but there is an accompanying drawing I did that has survived the strands of time.


Now, as you can see, both of these stories were based around two things I was absolutely in love with at that age. Two things I still carry a torch for to this day.


Sometime around the fourth grade, a school assignment turned into publication with my poem As I Lay on the Desert Floor. Back in those days, there was a Nevada Young Writer's Contest in which my poem was selected for. I personally don't have this book in my possession, but I do believe at some point I was given a copy. A quick Google search did not reveal anything about this contest, so it's quite possible I have the name of the anthology wrong.


Later in the elementary years, or possibly later, I wrote and illustrated a very short children's book called Tom the Time Machine. Pretty basic premise, here. A mad scientist builds a time machine, names the time machine Tom, and the two travel to the past.


Writing was a sporadic hobby for me around that time. Sitting down to pour out words was normally reserved for late nights in my bedroom, a desk light illuminating the way. Even back then, as it is now, distractions were the norm. I'd sit down to write and end up re-arranging the furniture in my bedroom before finally finding focus.


Here's a window into what was written in the navy blue composition book once owned by my Grandpa.


Lone Wolf


This is one of the earliest stories which received the multiple-draft treatment. It is a story of a family of wolves named JoJo, Hunter, Hound, Fifi, and Pike, plus an adopted family member called Bones, a coyote.


There's is a story of the wolf population on the verge of going extinct, harrowing winters, and the desire to mate. As it happens, the title refers to Pike, who has seen family members die or find a mate, leaving him all alone at the end of the story, letting loose a long, sharp, sad howl.


Here are the opening words, as written with no changes from the last draft I wrote:


It was a stormy day. JoJo, fiercest of the wolves, was guarding her four baby cubs against a bobcat. After fighting for several minutes, JoJo finally defeated the bobcat. She shared the meat among her four pups, who went by the names of Fifi, Pike, Hound, and Hunter. JoJo gave birth to these pups just days earlier. Her mate, Domino, was killed hours earlier by the bobcat. Now that Domino had died, the wolf population was decreasing. Many wolves were getting poached or getting killed by predators.


Defender


This story was written in junior high and I believe it was written after I'd watched the film Alien for the first time. It tells the story Army Specialist John Smith and his group of soldiers that battle to save Earth from alien invaders. The story even begins with a flashback of Smith talking to a psychiatrist and a chance meeting with one General Tim Davis.


A sampling, in its last form:


The next day, Davis and his nine men came to the house. David introduced the men. "The names of these men are Sky, Fire, Himms, Rocket, Capone, Hoffa (no relation to the mobster), O'Reily, Wallach, Ice, and myself. Fire, Sky, Rocket, and Ice are the heart of the core."


One of the funniest things upon re-reading this is that I had the general make a remark about Hoffa being no relation to the mobster, but not Capone.


Space Federation


Two warring factions. The good guys, led by Captain Littleton. Facing off against an enemy called the Zorbras. Spaceships were the focus here and I imagined this story would be part of a series. It's a story that was never even given an ending, leaving off all those years ago right in the middle of dialogue. Which makes me wonder why I didn't bother to finish the sentence.


There was also a 12-page or so comic book I developed at this time called The Shape Eaters. In a way, it was the same idea as Space Federation, with two warring factions. The main difference, as you might judge by the title, is that the two sides are all basically random drawn shapes.


One story and set of characters that stuck with me is the one revolving around my fantasy novels. I've previously written about the memories surrounding The Dragon Princess, but just know some of the ideas and characters live on in The Blue Gem and the upcoming The Dragon Slayer.


Amazingly, many of the stories mentioned above have been preserved. I didn't retain all of the drafts, like I do now with current projects, but there is at least some version to refer back to, giving me a window to the past. A way to grow. And to continue to tell stories that I enjoy writing and hope that people enjoy as well.


Thanks for stopping by.

Be bold. Be kind.


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