The lost zzicks

Allow me to indulge myself…

One of the biggest reasons I decided to create this Solid Gold Box section was a disastrous study flood in 2005. My study at that time was partially below ground level, and a water pipe blew. The flood was caught in time to save my books, so the only real loss was my personal files. At first I was so relieved that my books were saved that I didn’t think too much about the files. But over the ensuing years, the extent of my loss has gradually become clear.

Case in point, the delightful zzicks. Sometime around 1986 or ’87, when I was working in adult fiction (thanks to a major writers’ grant from the Manitoba Arts Council!), I amused myself on the side by doing a couple of picture books. I worked up the zzicks as pencil thumbnails, some of which I still have. I then did a quick series of felt marker drawings introducing myself to the zzicks, five of which have survived:

Yer basic 'zzick.'

Meet some zzicks.

Dancing zzicks.

Talking zzicks.

Snoozing zzick.

From this point I worked up the storyboards, also in felt marker. This was an unfortunate decision. Five of the initial prep drawings survived—though even here there is a bit of water damage. But the conservators who took the files from the water were unable to save the actual storyboards. The marker ran, so that the storyboards came back as a clump of psychiatrist’s inkblots.

I really can’t tell you what happened in the story. The zzicks had a grand adventure, but I simply don’t remember what it was. It seems strange to me that I’ve written stories, even just whimsies like this one, that have just vanished from my mind – but this experience is repeating itself over and over as I gradually make my way through these old files.

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