As I mentioned in another post I have had the idea of writing a children's book to help explain dementia. I want to do it in a humorous way, but also in a way that will help children to understand and not be so frightened if a parent or family member is experiencing these symptoms. I want them to understand the person is still there inside but has an illness. This book will follow on from 'Archie and the Witch's Spell'.
This is my first 'word vomit' love that term as it very accurately describes first attempt! I would like some feedback please on the ideas I have included in this first chapter, and the first reference to Nanny's onset of dementia. Its only about 700 words and may need more, probably aiming for about 1000/1500 words for MG. Here goes gulp:
Archie and the Witch’s Grandma
Chapter 1 – The Birthday Party
The BBQ was certainly in full swing. Archie and his friend Green Eye, both stared longingly up at the sky as a string of pork sausages, crackling and popping, whizzed through the air. The waft from the meat cooking nearby made Archie’s mouth water, his tummy rumbled in anticipation. ‘How do you like your steak cooked, Archie?’ called Ruby. ‘Well done, please’ he replied. Archie thought about the steaks his aunt cooked at home, oozing with blood, almost alive, his stomach turned over. ‘Ruby, can I have it very, very well done, please’ Ruby laughed and replied, ‘OK burnt it is!’
Archie smiled to himself, who would have thought it, a witch and a cat, his two best friends in the world. Archie thought about his mum and dad, they would have loved Ruby and Green Eye. Yes it might have taken them some getting used to the idea that their son had slightly unusual friends, Ruby a Witch, and a cat that could talk, but eventually, they would have come to see what he saw, friendly, caring and loyal friends. He missed mum and dad so much, if only they hadn’t been driving that night. He pushed these thoughts to the back of his mind, he didn’t want to be sad today, not at Nanna witches two hundredth birthday party.
He had started to count the number of witches, wizards and children who were there to celebrate this fantastic occasion, but he gave up as he couldn’t keep track of who he had counted and who he hadn’t. There were so many, certainly more than a hundred people and of course almost as many cats. He wasn’t a witch or a wizard, and not a direct member of the family, however Nanny Porshina had insisted that Ruby invite him to her birthday party. She had given him a big wet slobbery kiss when he arrived, he had felt his face redden with embarrassment and quickly wiped the spit from his face while she wasn’t looking. Although embarrassed he felt a warm glow, he was part of an extraordinary group.
‘Archie your steak is ready’ said Ruby, it was cooked to perfection. Archie looked over at Green Eye and he was tucking into a juicy tuna burger which oozed tomato ketchup. ‘How can you have tomato ketchup with Tuna’ thought Archie, yuk. His steak was like biting into butter, tender and juicy but no red bits. As he savoured every mouthful, he watched a game the children were playing, called ‘Jump the Broomstick’. The game involved jumping over a broomstick hanging in mid-air. every now and then the broomstick would say something trying to put them off their jump like ‘Susan’s got dirty knees’ or ‘Nora’s a cry baby’ or it would suddenly move higher to make it more difficult. Whoever could make the most jumps without falling off won the game.
A drum sounded and a cake the size of a house came out into the garden. All eyes turned to look, exploding from the centre of the cake was Nanny porshina! Everyone clapped and cheered and started singing happy birthday. Nanny Porshina looked overwhelmed! She started to thank everyone for coming, but then a strange thing happened, she stopped, looked around and said, ‘Why are you all here?’ There were a few giggles from the children, and the adults seem to think she was joking until Ruby ran forward. ‘Mum, mum, it’s your birthday, don’t you remember?’ Nanny Porshina thought for a moment, Archie saw a brief look of confusion in her eyes before she said ‘Of course, of course, silly me, now everyone must have a good time’. He still wasn’t sure if she was joking or not. The laughter and fun quickly resumed but Archie saw that Ruby was worried.
Green Eye looked fleetingly at Ruby, there was a knowing look shared between them, one that Archie was not a part of. ‘Archie come on let’s go and get some cake’ said Green Eye. It was a good attempt to cover up so that Archie wouldn’t ask questions, but Archie knew something was wrong. Archie decided not to press for more information, he would do so when the time was right, and a party was not the right time.
Some of the adult witches were having a three-legged race, but their three-legged race was nothing like the one at school sports day. Each Witch had cast a spell and grown a third leg; Archie couldn’t stop laughing they looked so funny with their black pointed hats and three legs protruding from their long black robes. Even Nanny Porshina was taking part!