When I was six, in Primary 2, I was given a storytelling exercise. I had to continue the adventures of a hamster from the book our class was reading. There was one requirement - it had to have a happy ending.
The A4 jotter we did these exercises in had a blank sheet to the right, for drawing. When my teacher (Mrs McCartney, no resemblance, she was lovely) read over my finished work she noted that it didn't have a happy ending. It ended on a question mark - would the hamster escape the caves? But then I pointed out my drawing: a maze. It was up to the reader to lead the hamster to freedom, following scraggly grey lines up to the surface.
Evidently six-year-old me was utilising the nascent fundamentals of ergodic literature; the ludic realities of 21st-century life were leaking into my textual practice. And don't get me started on the ramifications of a posthuman protagonist that early in the millennium! Maybe I just liked mazes and hamsters.
This was the first ever piece of fiction I wrote, or at least the earliest I can remember writing. It might not be evident because most of my published work has been poetry, but fiction was my first love, and it's still a central thrum in my craft. I have written many short stories and two novel manuscripts, and have many ideas for more works of fiction, some of which I am currently working on.
If you are keen to hear more about this side of my work, or specific long-form prose projects, please contact me here.