To me, it’s more than five years ago that Thoughtballoons started… it’s another lifetime. Back then, I was in a completely different job, a completely different home; I had no power and very little responsibility. It was before I changed career to become a teacher, it was before I had my son, it was the days of Free Time.
Ah, yes, I remember Free Time. Free Time was when I thought that… maybe… one day… I might make it as a writer. That after years of banging my head against that particular adamantium wall, I would finally break through. And being part of the original Thoughtballoons gang gave me the support and encouragement to build on that dream, to play the game, to live the life. Even if it was only make believe. It gave me the discipline, the deadlines and the respected peer feedback I needed to grow as a writer…and most of all, it was a heckuva lot of fun. I made friends in faraway places, friends I still keep in touch with today – even if it’s only through reading their facebook posts. And I got to write stories about some of the greatest characters in popular fiction (and a few rubbish ones that Ben picked).
But like I say, that was another lifetime. I know it’s possible to hold down a full time teaching job, be a parent AND build a successful career as a writer… IF YOU’RE RYAN. But I don’t have his stamina. (Ryan does not sleep. That is the only plausible explanation.) Not for me though: for me, something had to give. I can’t remember who it was who famously said “Writers write” (once, I would have known) but if that’s the main qualification, I guess I’m not a writer anymore.
Do you know what though? It’s not as bad as I always thought it would be, admitting that. You think you can’t live without that drug, but you can. If you have to. I have my boy, I have my job, and if every now and then I get to dust off the old metaphorical typewriter and pretend for a few sentence more… well, that makes it all the more special. And maybe once Sam goes off to university and I retire to the Old Folk’s Community, maybe I’ll write again. And maybe Thoughtballoons will have me back. Until then, I must find time to drop by and read some scripts every now and then. That always improves any day.
My script kinda riffs on all the above, and it’s pretty timely given the recent Spiderverse crossover and the imminent destruction of the Marvel Universe. It’s about my favourite character, of course, but not the one we know. One who, in the end, just wasn't smart enough…
- Rol Hirst
- Rol Hirst