Unlike every other boy my age (hmm…), I loved space, spent my few cents pocket money on space picture books that pre-dated the lunar landing, and thought I’d be on Mars by 1980, in the distant future of Gerry Anderson’s UFO, when everyone would wear wigs and silver miniskirts and have unisex bathrooms. I still want to be an astronaut when I grow up.
While people might have a good idea of their interests – hey you know what you like, and you can look around and check out the books and eight track cartridges you buy – I think it was only when I began to write more seriously that it became apparent what I was more deeply interested in. Two of my reoccurring fictional characters are a one armed policeman named Sergeant Burns*, and a two armed astronaut named Neil Armstrong.
I am not obsessed with Apollo, and I do not have any deep technical knowledge or interest, such as that of Ian Sales. My interests are from my own history – it is one of the earliest major events of which I had awareness, and in that sense it was formative; I was alive to the hype – is that a fair word? – the great interest of those around me; and there are images that stick with me, perhaps from dream or some similar state, of profoundly deep and dark depths, of climbing into the sky, of balancing at perilous angles, which I associate with Apollo. There is nostalgia, and the amazement that you can only have in childhood that has stuck with me.
Of my Apollo stories, I think that This Neil Armstrong is not dead # best captures the imagery and emotion that I have around this subject. It includes my memory of conversations with my (long deceased) grandfather and (thankfully still living) father. I commend it to your charity.
*To be honest, sometimes it is only the missing arm that is in the story.
#click on the link and you can read it for free.