A twelve-year-old Simon is standing awkwardly in front of his class, blushing slightly, posed awkwardly. He doesn’t like the attention. Doesn’t like being in the limelight. It shows. Gawkiness radiates off him. He’s clasping a wiro-bound 100-plus paged booklet in his hands. We can just about read the text on its title page: DSA. The students watching Simon are sitting cross-legged. Some are attentive; most are busying themselves with more important matters; like staring at their fingers, or the carpet. The students of the crowd are unimpressed. The teacher is smiling patronisingly; he’s thinking Sure, Kid. Of course you are.
CAPTION: When Simon was twelve years old, he made an announcement to the world:
SIMON: I wanna be a writer.
CAPTION : It was not met with rapturous applause.
Impossibly, Simon is blushing even more. His grasp has tightened around his ‘novel.’ He’s trying – and failing miserably – to salvage his presentation.
SIMON: I, uh, wrote this. Um … the Dependable Spy Agency.
SIMON: The DSA!
Similar panel to above, angled to view an older Simon, now a teenager, standing in front of his parents, another stapled document in his hands. Again, we can just about read the name of the novel: ‘Prey.’ Simon’s more confident now, compared to his younger self. His parents are smiling, warmly, but there is uncertainty in their eyes. They love Simon’s passion, but believe it should possibly be redirected into something else; something more tangible.
SIMON: - - not actually a monster, but something that escaped from captivity - -
SIMON: A lion!
CAPTION: He got used to it, over time.
CAPTION: The contemptuous smiles on the people he told.
CAPTION: The well-wishes from those who in actuality had no faith.
Simon, older again, is sitting with RKL in a pub-setting. There are two pints on the table in front of them. There is no disdain on Ryan’s face. He’s genuinely interested.
CAPTION: They say writing can be an isolating pastime and profession.
SIMON: - - about a House at the end of time.
SIMON: The House of Endtimes!
CAPTION: Simon didn’t know it could be different.
On RKL, smiling amiably.
CAPTION: But now that he knows it can be?
Simon, in the present day, sitting at his desk, clacking on his keyboard. The image of the original Thought-Balloons crew Danial illustrated years ago is prominent, stuck to the wall beside Simon so too an image of the ACT COMICS MEET ‘BEGINNINGS’ anthology cover. His face is contorted in concentration. He’s in the zone. This is bliss.
CAPTION: The writing's gotten easier.
CAPTION: And better.