I was going through some old papers and I found a fan fiction I had handwritten when I was 20 for The Flying Doctors, an Aussie TV series that ran during the late 1980s/early 1990s that I loved. At the time I didn’t know that what I was writing was something called fan fiction – this was pre widespread internet.
In my tale, the heroine, Esther Bergman (fictional surname and Esther was 7 years older than me with an unrealistic published writer, librarianship AND film production assistant career), is someone escaping some angsty stuff in London. She has traveled to Australia where she drives through the Outback for two months on her own (it was pretty well researched, if I say so myself, with an itinerary and distances noted and small town landmarks in the New South Wales Outback mentioned). After two months Esther comes to the little town of Coopers Crossing and of course instantly becomes very good friends with pretty much the whole cast of The Flying Doctors.
Nurse Kate (Lenore Smith) and doctor Geoff (Robert Grubb) become favourites in my tale and fictional Esther strikes up a close friendship with Dr. David Ratcliffe (Brett Climo). They are, of course, supposed to become each other’s true loves.
I never got that far in my tale. David and Esther had only gotten to the hugging and an occasional cheek kiss stage. My fan fic was too caught up in details (writing in daily (!!) diary form) which made the story development very slow and mired in nonsense and in the end I guess I just gave up.
Tucked into that notebook there were also some loose sheets of paper with some teen angst poetry I had written between the ages of 16 and 20. I used to write those in my diary but at some point I also copied them onto these loose sheets of paper – the collected poetry works of Esther, if you will. I didn’t have the patience to construct sentences beautifully or even use any striking words or phrases and there was only occasional rhyming, but these poems did come from my heart and I do remember writing most of these. It was really nice going down memory lane with them, bringing back old thoughts and feelings.
The notebook was falling apart, the ink on the loose sheets of paper was fading and I must have spilled something over it as many pages had these huge greasy spots on them. So, I decided to transcribe it all. The fan fic turned out to be someting like 19.500 words long and really isn’t worth finishing, especially as I can’t remember anymore what I had in mind for David and Esther. I am more pleased that I have now also transcribed those 13 poems. Most of them are bad to iffy (the world has not lost a great poet in me) but two of them I do still quite like, so I’ve decided to share them here.
The first poem was written when I was 16, about two months after I started going to an international boarding school in The Netherlands. During the first months there, one of the pretty, popular guys wrote me a few anonymous ‘love letters’. A go-between soon told me they were from Mr. Popular and that he wanted to date me. Inside I was feeling very flattered as I really wasn’t someone to normally be noticed by the pretty boys. I had sense enough, however, to tell the go-between that if that guy really meant it, he should come talk to me. Turned out Mr. Popular had no real interest in me at all and had only been interested in making fun of me publicly had I really reciprocated. Luckily, the crush I had secretly developed was instantly cured, but it had still been a painful incident. It inspired my first poem and imagine this as the setting with a lane and there’s also a stream on the premises:
as I walked down the lane,
“Is life only a game?”
as I heard the rushing stream,
“Why is it that I can’t scream?”
smelling the clear fresh air,
“I guess this is a nightmare.”
in the beautiful autumn landscape,
“I wish I could escape.”
stepping into the dirt,
“Why does it hurt?”
it is passing by.
I don’t know why.
The second poem was written half a year later when I had just turned 17 and I had fallen in love with a guy I remained in love with for the rest of my school years there (although never requited).
in a lake.
It is peaceful.
with the river.
It is enjoyable.
to the sea.
I’m losing strength.
it is an ocean.
I can’t get out!
in my thoughts.
I’m thinking of you.
Yep, pretty angsty stuff! I actually remember writing that second one pretty quickly, like it was all there and ready, waiting to flow out. That’s the way I like them, quite short and sweet and with a meaning I can easily interpret. I’m not that much of a poery fan, although I do like some. Poems always need to make some sort of immediate sense to me and I don’t like puzzling over them for ages, trying to figure them out. I guess I’m more of a prose girl, which is why I never really honed the poetry craft.
So, these are what they are and it’s been fun, but now that these old writings have been documented, it’s off to better things. 🙂