The first fork is to do with where I was working at the time I had the idea, which was in the typing unit at my local social services. The department dealt with foster carers, respite carers, adoptive parents and the children they cared for. For every heartbreaking story I read there was an equally heart-warming one, but most of the time I could not believe some of the hardships that these traumatised children had suffered, and I could only applaud how much time and effort the carers put in to giving them a normal happy life.
Children don’t see the world in the same way as adults in the normal course of events. Some of these children had an even stranger outlook on life because of their experiences, and so they had quite logical reasons for what might seem outwardly strange behaviour. So this story is dedicated to every wounded child and to the valiant people who do their very best to care for them. (And any woman who claims to “need” IVF treatment seriously needs to look at her own motives for wanting children, and then follow the adoption / fostering route instead.)
The other fork is to do with my own childhood and how I perceive the world. I was born on a Wednesday (although I've always preferred to alter the line in the poem to Wednesday's Child is full of "WOAH!"). I was bullied at school and at work, but I got through it. I have high standards and expectations of myself and so I tend to expect the same of others, often more than they are actually capable of. And so, except for a few rare and very special individuals, I am repeatedly disappointed - silly me! - when the people I admire and respect turn out to be fallible after all. I feel let down when others don’t at least attempt to put the same effort and passion into living that I do. After all, any one of us could be dead tomorrow. We can’t afford to waste time being lame.
Smack bang in the middle of writing / drawing this I was already upset about this and that, then I was quite ill (I drew some of it in a hospital bed with tubes hanging out of my arm), then because I was ill I lost my job, so I was feeling quite low, isolated, useless and misunderstood - pretty much like the girl in the story - and I get a bit emotional when I look at this now. And that’s another reason why I don’t do this sort of thing very often, because I seem to be at my most inspired when I’m feeling down. On balance, if it’s going to be a straight choice between being creative and being happy, then the creativity can go to hell!
Wednesday’s Child is a horror story told from the point of view of an honest, but disillusioned and slightly unreasonable child - after all, what normal parent hasn’t made up the white lie about Father Christmas? It’s also about the Faerie - not cute little sprites with wings - but the “real” Faerie, who are fickle, tricksters and very dangerous to be around indeed. Wednesday’s Child is so lonely and bullied that she makes her own best friend. Because her imagination is so vivid, she either inadvertently summons a real Faery or her toy becomes one, and he is a bit more than she can handle. And because she is so honest, trusting and innocent, she can’t see the horror for herself.
Because this is a story from a child’s perspective, I deliberately drew it in a childlike style. I used pastels and charcoal and a little bit of tidying up on Photoshop, but I tried to stick to the K.I.S.S. Rule (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) as much as possible. I also made the “Friend” doll (ugly, isn’t he?) and then photographed him for the cover. I never went as far as having an imaginary friend when I was little, but I did make toys for myself out of old nylon tights - mostly snakes with button eyes although there was a Loch Ness Monster I was especially proud of!
I’ve left the aftermath of the story to the reader’s imagination, but my own hope would be that Wednesday’s Child will find new people who she can believe in, and who will give her all the love and security she needs, so that she doesn’t need her monster guardian any more. Finally, I have two theories on who “Friend” really is - that is, he is either a Goblin - in the true definition of the Faery, or more specifically a Bogle, or Boggle. Either description fits. Make up your own mind.