When I was about 7 years old, I wrote my first masterpiece for publishing.
There was a contest in a magazine I'd stumbled upon. One of those old kid-oriented mags, perhaps OWL or chickaDEE — they were somehow always around for me to flip through and read with the solemn concentration that was typical of a self-assured growing toddler certain they were doing "grown up things". I was a voracious reader even at an early age (which would later contribute on my needing glasses by 3rd grade).
The contest was sponsored by Disney for its forthcoming release, Aladdin, asking its young readers to write a creative letter about why they love Disney and why they should be the winner of the contest. If I recall, the prize was, typically, a trip to Disneyland.
Boy, did I work on that piece like a hard-pressed journalist. I sat down and wrote, rewrote, crossed out blocks of text, transposed sentences, checked every word in the huge dictionary that was kept in our study room. I threw in every bit of passion I had for Winnie the Pooh, Oliver and Company, The Little Mermaid, and my forever favourite, Beauty and the Beast. I threw in quotes from these classics, and added some special anecdotes.
As I said, it was a masterpiece.
I did all of this on my own, without telling a single soul. I thought I was taking the initiative, being proactive, being a daring go-getter. But I was only 7 years old.
I didn't know about Canada Post, or mailing addresses, or even the necessity of stamps. So I stood on my tiptoes and stuck my folded letter in its envelope into the slot with a sense of accomplishment, not knowing that it wouldn't go anywhere because I didn't give it a place to go other than writing on the envelope: "To Mr. Walt Disney".