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I grew up in country schools as the weird kid. I had too much imagination and too little self esteem which I guess means I had the makings of a great artist or a great serial killer. As an adult I guess I can appreciate this more because I relate to children’s cartoon characters and Spiderman better. My imagination was a terrible beast trying to unleash itself upon the world and, like an angry junkyard dog, only getting as far as the end of its chain and scaring the shit out of me.

I was the kid who knew every dinosaur and how to pronounce their names and which dinosaurs lived together and tore each other apart. Their size and majesty fascinated me. The were built like terrible machines, covered in armour and weilding an array of in-built weapons so they had everything I did not. I collected every Walking With Dinosaurs poster and I memorised them. On my birthday the poster with my favourite dinosaur, ankylosaurus, came out and I thought this was fate. I prayed to my own personal child jesus, who wore blue pajamas with stars on them and had a head shaped like a crescent moon because as a kid I was in a constant state of confusion. I prayed to him to turn me into a velociraptor and then I would be adopted into a pack of friendly beasts and we would tear apart my bullies with our claws and teeth and then I would give a throaty cry into the night and the pack would know that I was their leader. This did not happen so I gave up on God and refused to sing any of the hymns at my anglican school until I got in trouble for it.

Soon my maelstrom imagination turned to things that did not already exist. Dinosaurs were too set a path and it would be many years before I could realise my dream of becoming a paleontologist and make up dinosaurs of my own. I turned to aliens. I watched Independence Day and it freaked my shit out but I would still pretend that the aliens would come and then they would take me up to their spaceship and we would become friends and then we would arm ourselves with pulse rifles that I had invented even though I was just a kid and then we would come down to Earth and vaporise all my bullies. I wrote a story with my best friend who was as weird as me but in a very different way and I was my main character in the story. I would fight terrible monsters from space and then my friend would take over and kill them in ridiculous ways that pissed me off a lot.

Monsters plagued my dreams every night. With a blank slate my mind could not find anything to grasp on to so my brain turned everything I saw into some kind of terrible creature. I slept with an array of stuffed animals but only because I thought they would kill me if I abandoned them. If I woke up in the morning and one had fallen under my bed I would apologise to it under my breath and plead to it that it was an accident. My first stories were horror stories where the main character always died because I did not want to piss off monsters by making them seem weak.

I think I turned out alright considering the circumstances.

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