Today, I'm going to take you along with me on that trip. Buckle in.
First to set the stage: St. Stephen's High School was a Catholic high school in the town of Stephenville, Newfoundland. I was actually a member of the last graduating class before it switched to the public school system in 1998 and was renamed simply Stephenville High.
The school was mostly known for its sports teams and bands (the organized, orchestral kind). Other arts, literature and drama were deemed far less important activities - the concert band and the school drama club actually had an ongoing feud for a couple of years that I may have to write about some day. There was actually a reference to the school prizing Math and Science above Arts and Literature in the lead Editorial of this very issue, which was kind of the impetus for starting this magazine in the first place.
I should also point out that, despite the environment, there was not one but TWO student publications circulating the school halls in 1996-97, which explains the context of this little note on the bottom of page one:
That being said, if anyone who attended St. Stephen's High School in 1996 and has a copy of the cover or comic PLEASE scan it and send me a copy. I will be your best friend forever.
I would amiss if I didn't take a moment to comment on the absolutely atrocious formatting. I remember vividly the first issue being messed up; I had given the files to someone else to print and they printed like 50 copies without noticing that the font was wrong, the pages had all shifted and the page numbers were screwed up. I was so pissed that I took Draconian hold over the layout and wouldn't let anyone else touch the set up or printing for any of the future issues. It's a bit of a obsessive control streak I maintain to this day, and may have something to do with my choice to self-publish.
|The white space was a not a design choice. The other half of the poem is on the next page. The table of contents also says it was supposed to be on page 7. Nineteen years later and this still makes my blood boil.|
It's... not terrible. It's not good, either, but it's perfectly perfunctory. The prose is kind of awkward and definitely too wordy (twenty fucking years later and I'm still dealing with that), not to mention I used every single possible lazy fantasy trope I could think of (the sword is embedded in a stone, for crying out loud). It was also surprisingly dark. The boy's mother is a depressed drug addict and he discovers over the course of this chapter that's he's cursed because his father was a coward who abandoned his family. It's kind of depressing. This was during a time when I took my writing and my fantasy way too seriously, before I found that you can (and should) find humour in everything, even (and especially) tragedy.