Hello, I’m Rachel Hamilton, author of The Case of the Exploding Loo and The Case of the Exploding Brains. This week, I’ve been outlining The Case of the Exploding Book 3 ready for my NaNoWriMo mission. So, I’ve been thinking a lot about structure. Particularly about beginnings and endings.
I’m always suspicious of happy endings. For a start, they can’t be happy for everyone, can they? Take the Marvel Avengers movie. It ended brilliantly for the Avengers, but not for (*swoon*) Loki. And it was a disaster for Loki-fangirls like me because it seemed to suggest he wouldn’t be in future Avengers outings :(. (Although I heard a lovely rumour, this morning, that he might be popping up in a flashback scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron!)
Also, what happens after the happy ending? If people aren’t dead (admittedly, there were more than a few corpses on Avengers), life goes on. So a happy ending isn’t really the end, is it? It’s just a happy moment.
But you have to grab those moments. Because they’re brilliant while they last. I had a special ‘moment’ last week and it involved my ten year-old son. Bless him. He’s my favourite boy in the world. He’s bright and smart and funny and he has many talents – and yes there is a ‘but’ coming – BUT sport has never been one of them.
This is the kid who tried to skive off swimming lessons by telling the PE teacher he felt seasick. This is the kid who got a refund from a ‘non-refundable’ skiing course because he refused to put on his skis and decided to build a snowman instead. This is the kid who scuppered the ‘tennis ball throw’ event at his Year 2 Sports Day by hiding the balls in his pockets. And this is the kid who once had to be carried off the pitch by the football coach because he wouldn’t move and other kids kept falling over him.
So imagine my surprise when he came home with this lovely certificate. Laminated and everything!
His form teacher was still laughing when I picked him up because, after walking to the front of assembly to collect his award, Dylan just stood there – staring at the certificate, staring at the Headmaster, shaking his head – before declaring, “Well, this is unexpected.”
He was, I’m told, awarded with the prize because, after six years of school football lessons, he actually moved during a game. Not only that, but he tackled another child (don’t tell anyone, but I suspect it may have been by accident). According to eye-witness reports, the entire match halted in a mass-gasp-of-shock and everyone came running to give him a High 5. Even the kids on the opposing side.
This was a ‘moment’. A fist pumping, tear jerking, head nodding moment. At this point in the movie of his life, my child (*sniff*) would be raised on to the shoulders of the crowd and the backing music would swell to a crescendo as the screen faded to black and we all lived ‘happily ever after’.
Certainly, that’s what my husband assumed. He was ready to call Roy Hodgson to confirm Dylan’s place on the England squad.
But life goes on.
So this week, things are back to normal. The football teacher has sent a note complaining that Dylan was refusing to take part in the ‘heading the ball’ task during his PE lesson:
“He said he didn’t want balls kicked at his head because he was contemplating whether it would ever be possible to control time and the flying footballs were distracting him.”
That’s my boy.