The first book I ever wrote (that I can remember) was when I was in the 1st grade.  It was called Lucy, My Crazy Dog and was about, of all things, Lucy, the family dog.  At that point we had only had Lucy for a few months, and we were still learning some of her more eccentric personality traits. The book was pretty much a catalog of all of the things she got in trouble for, like breaking through the window screen to chase after birds that had landed in the front yard or digging in my mothers potted plants to bury Twinkies she had stolen from the pantry.   I can still remember my father reading it the night I brought it home from school, laughing as he leaned against the counter of our harvest gold kitchen.  He told me it was great, and while I'm sure every kid's parents said the same to their child that night, I'm pretty sure mine wasn't just blowing smoke.  This was highbrow literature at it's first-grade finest.

A couple of years later, I had to write another book for school; this time I produced the psychological thriller Fexter and the Party which was about, oddly enough, a boy named Fexter who goes to his friend's house for a party only to be told there is no party and that his friend doesn't live there.  The twist at the end, of course was that (spoiler alert!) the whole ordeal turns out to be a dream, and Fexter wakes up in time to get dressed and make it to the party after all.  Where I came up with the name Fexter I have no idea, but I'm pretty sure the dream sequence was inspired by my watching the TV show Dallas with my mom and the whole Pam-finds-her-dead-husband-Bobby-in-the-shower-one-morning-and-his-whole-dying-had-all-been-a-dream twist.  Funny that a silly plot device used  after a contract re-negotiation would leave such an indelible mark on my budding literary genius.

And now, nearly 30 years later, every time I see a commercial for the Dallas reboot, I can't help but think about poor Fexter.  I wonder if he suffered any ill effects from his nightmare.  If he has anxiety attacks every time an Evite hits his inbox.  Because he's still around, you know.  Fexter.  In all his purple-squiggly-headed glory. (I was not much of an illustrator, you know.)  he's there in my head with a hundred other characters and a thousand opening lines, most of which I have never had the courage to commit to paper or hard drive or blog post.  Because where do you start?  And once you start, where will you end up?  And shouldn't you know the answer to at least those two most basic questions before you begin such an undertaking as creating an entire world and all the people in it?