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Sunny Days: Chasing the Clouds Away (You're The Inspiration Book 1)


Sunny Days Chasing the Clouds Away

You**re the Inspiration Book 1

Josh Hilden



Copyright 2015 Josh Hilden

Shakespir Edition








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Chapter 1

Early Childhood Toys

I know that for most writers, or some writers, or a lot of writers, well me anyway, inspiration comes from some really weird places. I’ve been thinking a lot about where my ideas come from lately and decided what I needed to do, as always, was work the issues out in public via my essays.

Yes, I’m still trying to kill the vile word BLOG!

So the first thing I did to prepare for this journey was strip naked and lie upon the bed. What? I always tend to think better when my body isn’t restricted by the restraint of clothing. Don’t tell me you freaks don’t have little quirks that allow you to function better. Anyway I was naked in bed, and cuddling with my body pillow.

Deal with it boils and ghouls.

So I was trying to decide where my first inspirations came from and I’d nearly settle on television as my initial source of inspiration, which I have to admit would have been a little heartbreaking, when I struck upon a very old but powerful memory

Late 1970’s early1980’s Fisher Price Action Figures!

I have zero memory of receiving them. I only know they were in my football shaped toy box, anyone who knows me can see how funny that is, before I started school and before my unnamed brother was born. That means at the most I was four years old.

I know I had three distinct sets of figures. I’m not sure if they all came in complete sets with accompanying vehicles and brick-a-brack. Knowing my parents I’d say they were bought in compete sets.

I had the Space set, this one was my favorite. It came with a shuttle and several astronauts. This was amazing. It may have been one of the most durable toys I ever owned as well. The action figures were robust and in various space uniforms. The shuttle had a series of wicked sound effects and lights that worked until one too many trips into the bathtub. That was when I learned the difference between “Water Proof” and “Water Resistant” to my chagrin.

I had the Wilderness Patrol set. This was my least favorite… except for the plane. I used it as the enemy craft to fight the space shuttle which for some reason had laser cannons. The set continued three vehicles a pontoon boat, a Jeepish thing, and a bush plane. Along with the improbable vehicles there were three action figures an airplane pilot, a boat pilot, and a hat wearing trucke driver for the “Jeepish” vehicle. There was one very odd thing about the Patrol set. For some damn reason Lassie was a part of the team. I’m not sure if that was because Timmy was a member of the patrol of if the cap wearing trucker redneck stole her from the farm but yeah… the damn set came with Lassie.

The final set I had was the weirdest. And by weirdest I don’t mean it was a serial killer set of the prison play set. In fact this was actually on the surface one of the most normal sets… until you stop and think about it. This was the Camping set. It came with a bright orange Jeep, a silver canoe, a tent, and two male action figures. They were two very manly male action figures. Two very bromance related action figures. Two action figures I could imagine catching in a Brokeback Mountain moment together. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. I mean hell maybe back in the day Fisher Price was attempting to prep us for homosexuals in the world of entertainment.

So yeah, there was that.

These sets were the first things I can remember using to create in a directed way. I’m sure I drew things before I knew how to write but I don’t actually remember any of those efforts and nobody can clarify it for me. I know I made complicated stories (or complicated for a four year old) with these toys. For the life of me I don’t remember these narratives and I think we are all probably better off not knowing what I did with them. Although I’m sure none of the action figures fucked one another… but Lassie probably killed someone.

Because even in 1980 that was how Josh rolled!

The next toy which served as major inspiration for pre-literate Josh was something called Tub Town. This toy didn’t actually belong to me but instead to my unnamed brother. Tub Town was a two level harbor city play set in the spirit of Play Mobil toys. If I were more of an asshole than I really am I would say the makers of Tub Town ripped off Play Mobil. It suctioned cupped the side of the tub. It came with a small boat, four action figures, life preservers, and two buoy barrels.

What I did with Tub Town should have been a warning sign to the adults in my life.

My favorite thing to do with Tub Town was to first build up a good bubble bath. Hey don’t you fucking judge me I still love bubble baths the suds around my twig and berries is so relaxing. It’s like a Pixie Hand Job. Next I would arrange all of the Tub Town accessories on the play set. I would do voices for them and have them interact like it was a normal sunny day and they were going about their lives.

I like to think if I was a force of nature I’d be a tsunami.

The destruction of Tub Town came in waves of sudsy water. Each wave was stronger than the one before and I did the screaming voices of the citizens of Tub Town as they were ripped from their homes in terror and consigned to the depths of my soapy and most likely urine tinged bath water.

These were the toys which began the glowing hot embers of my imagination. I still have nothing but amazing memories of them and I wish I still had them. I looked into picking some of them up on eBay and HOLY SHIT my childhood would be expensive to rebuild. But fuck I really want the Space Shuttle and Lassie… and maybe the gay campers.

Next time I move on to the toys I loved and used my imagination on between the years encompassing five – twelve. So until then I encourage you to take your possibly gay toys into the tub and drown them in the waves of soapy urine saturated water.

[] Chapter 2

The Toys I Loved Before Boobies

It all started long, long ago in a house far, far away. And by that I mean it began with Star Wars Action Figures. I was just a little too young to get in on the infamous “Early Bird” offer of figures but by the next Christmas I was insane for Star Wars.

I remember that Christmas for two reasons. The first is that it was the one we spent living with my grandmother because mom and dad couldn’t decide if they wanted to be married or not. For the record I am a big believer that my parents really were in love with one another but they were too fucked up in the end to stay together. I will say this until I am cold and dead.

Getting divorced is the best thing my parents ever did for me.”

But more important than living with grandma for the first time it was the Christmas of Star Wars. I can’t even remember how many action figures I got but I do remember the crowning glory. I was given the Millennium Falcon. It was the first time I sprouted the fabled Geek Boner… except you know… I didn’t actually raise the main sail. Too young for that you perverts.

In the years before Empire Strikes Back came out I created my own stories of action and adventure. I did voices for each character and made sound effect for the vehicles. Not to be a one setting guy the weirdo’s from my Fisher Price toys were invited to join the Star Wars people in their adventures. This all culminated with a massive battle between the Falcon and Space Shuttle, after I’d shorted out the electronics in the tub.

It was a draw.

The movies kept coming out I continued to get the toys. My legions grew and the adventures I created flourished. I still love the memories of my Star Wars action figures but in the end they were not the toys which defined my creative years between the ages of five and twelve. That would be the homoerotic muscle-bound awesomeness of GI Joe A Real American Hero!

Before we move on I need to share an interesting side note about Star Wars. It is the first movie I remember seeing and it was in a Drive In as well. So yeah, take that you fucking Hipster Geeks!

I’ve told the story of my first GI Joe action figure in great detail already. So instead of giving the lengthy tale another beating, I will give you a very quick rundown. Are you ready? Good, here we go and pay attention because there will be a quiz afterwards.

p(((((<>{color:#000;}. Mom went to Dayton in order to deal with Post Partum Depression

p(((((<>{color:#000;}. I stayed with Dad and we grilled steaks in the rain

p(((((<>{color:#000;}. Mom bought me a GI Joe action figure (Short Fuse)

p(((((<>{color:#000;}. Mom brought said action figure back from Dayton and I was happy

p(((((<>{color:#000;}. I took the action figure to school

p(((((<>{color:#000;}. A cocksucker who was supposed to be my friend stole the action figure

p(((((<>{color:#000;}. I was devastated

p(((((<>{color:#000;}. It made me the bastard I am today.

My parents recognized my GI Joe obsession quickly and it became the primary mine from which they sought gift ideas. I want to make this very clear. I had, and still have, a lot of GI Joe shit. Until I put down the Sky Striker and started noticing Jenny Thornton’s boobies, GI Joe was my number one creative form of expression. As you will see in the essays which follow this one GI Joe has heavily influenced almost all of them. It even shines on my love of Boobies and Abs… oh Scarlet and Duke, anyway, moving on.

As Star Wars mashup was the ruler of the day and every other toy I possessed was incorporated into my GI Joe creative fandom. The Masters of the Universe action figures, I had a handful of them, were giants who ravaged the land and had to be smacked upside their squashy rubber heads by the Joe’s. Although to be fair Skeletor and Cobra Commander were always buddies in these little plays.

That was always fucking epic!

I had other toys in that period I remember fondly. Transformers and Gobots made a brief appearance along with Masters of the Universe figures. I was never a massive collector of these toys but I liked them and still have a few of them. But despite the multiple lines of toys that entertained me and allowed me to stretch me creative imagination there was one collection of toys which almost matched GI Joe and Star Wars.

Marvel Secret Wars action figures.

There weren’t many of these but I had almost all of them and they were/are amazing. I had/have a few of the various DC Super Powers action figures (Brainiac was my favorite) but Marvel had my heart back in the day. I was just really getting into serious comic book collecting at that point (we will discuss it later) and the toys were the BEST comic book action figures on the market. Unfortunately I was a little too young to get on the MEGO bandwagon back in the day. Although I had a naked Spiderman… everyone had naked Spiderman.

After the age of twelve I didn’t create so much with toys. I still loved them and to this day I still collect them. My current fixations are Pop Vinyl’s and Marvel Universe action figures. But it’s not the same. That is sad but it’s not a bad thing, as long as creativity evolves and doesn’t stagnate moving on is a positive as opposed to a negative.

But seriously I need to know, why did we all take off Spiderman’s clothes and never put them back on?





Chapter 3

The Small Screen before Kindergarten

Some of my earliest memories involve the television. There are a lot of people who like to tell you that television stifles creativity, I like to think I am living breathing proof this claim is complete bullshit. That being said I am a parent of six now and like every parent I am kind of a hypocrite when it comes to things like television watching. I do my best to limit their time.

Yeah I know… I’m the devil.

Before my first year of school in 1981, I was the standard child television watcher in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. I was a Sesame Street kid from the very beginning. As a matter of fact I learned to pee in the potty watching Sesame Street with my best friend Jason. We’d drag our potty chairs out into the living room, my mom babysat Jason before we started kindergarten, and watch Burt and Ernie with our underwear around our ankles.

I am sure there is a lesson in that but I can’t identify it.

Along with the street I watched Mr. Rogers, The Great Space Coaster, The Electric Company, some oddball shows from Canada (The Big Friendly Giant & Mr. Dressup), and a distinctly Detroit based local show called Hot Fudge. If you have never seen that show you need to stop reading this essay, go to YouTube, search for the show, and watch it now!

I’ll wait.

Did you watch it?

Was your fucking mind blown?

Yeah my friends and enemies that was the kind of stuff young josh, who still wore an eye patch and goggles, ingested on a regular basis. Are you really still wondering why my views on the world are so twisted? But damn there was a long time between Hot Fudge and Adult Swim and that was not a good thing.

Those shows are well and good for laying the foundations of inspiration but they are not the fare which eventually wound its way into my creative fabric. The show which did that first, and maybe the best, was Thundarr the Barbarian.

Thundarr was the single entertainment venue which made me love the Post Apocalyptic genre. That’s not even accurate, Thundarr made me obsessed with the idea of life after the destruction and fall of our civilization. Add to that the boobs on Princess Ariel and there really is no doubting the effect this show had on me.

If you don’t know the story of Thundarr let me give it to you in a fast handy dandy bulleted list (because I know how much you love those).

p(((((<>{color:#000;}. In 1994 (The year I graduated High School) a runaway plant passes between the earth and the moon, disintegrating the moon and giving the makers of the Time Machine remake a cool visual to steal.

p(((((<>{color:#000;}. The story takes place 2000 years in the future on a mutated earth filled with monsters, aliens, wizards, and super science. (Yes it does seem to be an influence on one of my favorite Role Playing Games of all time).

p(((((<>{color:#000;}. The humans in the world are mostly pathetic survivors who are hopefully overmatched by the wizards and monsters.

p(((((<>{color:#000;}. The setting is filled with the ruins of the past and the creations of the future. The one that really nailed me hard was when they went to the site of Mt. Rushmore and you realized the northern great plains were now an inland sea and Mt. Rushmore was now a cliff face overlooking the water.

p(((((<>{color:#000;}. Unlike many kids show of the era it was the characters that were the heart of the show. Although there were a few arcing storylines it was the character driven aspect which made it unique. And who were the main characters?

p(((((<>{color:#000;}. Thundarr – He is the hero and a barbarian. A former slave gladiator who escapes the arena and with his magical Sun Sword and the help of his two best friends travels the world helping the humans and good thinking nonhumans.

p(((((<>{color:#000;}. Ooklah the Mok – Mok’s are a race of humanoid with a leonine bent to their physiology. They are very intelligent and get on well with humans. Ooklah was also a slave warrior and escaped with Thundarr. The two are the best of friends and would die for one another.

p(((((<>{color:#000;}. Princess Ariel – Ariel was raised in a more civilized setting and is a historian along with being a sorceress. Ariel was the first female character I remember thinking “She is a complete badass” she was more powerful than either of the warriors in the show and on several occasions the day would have been lost without her.

I can point to this show as unequivocally being the first time programming weaved its way into my creative sphere. I can trace many of the tropes I incorporated into my game writing and then into my fiction writing to Thundarr.

Now of course Thundarr was far from the only show that influenced me before I discovered girl, boys, boobies, and butts. But before the amazing arrival of a certain Real American Hero on the screen it was the one that stuck with me and caused me to create. I would imagine my own stories involving Thundarr and the characters the show introduced. I continued the storylines the show started and never finished. And always the “Swamp Urchin” returned to help them fight a returning King Kong over and over again.

Ariel, Ooklah, RIDE!!!”

[]Chapter 4

The Small Screen after Kindergarten

No single television show I experienced before the age of twelve influenced me more than G.I Joe: A Real American Hero (which will be referred to as GI Joe for the remainder of this essay). This also applies to toys as I’ve mentioned in an earlier essay. When I return to the world of comic books the Joe’s will return for a third and final appearance in this series. They will NOT be making an appearance in the Movie’s portion of this series because I refuse to believe those childhood raping installment exist. Although to be fair Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was awesome in the second one, which was a watchable movie but didn’t cleanse my pallet enough from the first one. Watching that first movie was like letting a hobo jerkoff in my mouth.

I read the GI Joe comic book long before the first television movie was broadcast. So I knew the characters and understood the back story of much of what was to come. I sat down that night and watched enthralled by the pace and the story telling, I’d never seen anything like it. This was in the days before the VCR was common place and a long time before somebody of my economic station had access to one. Therefore the only way to relive the awesomeness was to talk about it. And that was exactly what we did at school the next day until we were blue in the face.

The GI Joe television show was a phenomenon.

I don’t think I can put it in context for people who were not there to experience it firsthand. In this day and age when a cartoon blows up in popularity, Adventure Time and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic are the examples that spring to my mind, everyone knows in half an hour. Okay that may be an overstatement but in this interconnected world we live in people know everything within hours at the most.

And to be honest I love it!

Back in the days of word of mouth and monthly fan magazines it was hard to find fellow fans. It was akin to standing outside a restroom stall and tapping your foot hoping the person inside got the point of the gesture. (Yes I stole that line nearly word for word from Kevin Smith’s seminal work “Tough Shit” just get over it). To make matters worse my best friend Jason was NOT a fan of GI Joe, in fact the only two other fans I knew were my step-uncle Bert (He of hay bale castle)and that toy stealing bastard Nathan Smith.

GI Joe was my first gateway into the realm of fan fiction. I’ve talked about this before but I think it needs to be restated because damn the show, and the comic books, were really important in my early creative life. There were three episodes of the show which in the end altered the way I look at writing and storytelling.

I am presenting the three episodes (one is a two parter) with a very brief synopsis followed by an explanation of what I learned from them and why they’ve stuck with me until this very day.

Episode: 136/137 “Worlds Without End”

I think it’s safe to say this was the storyline which changed everything for me. In this story several of the Joe’s are involved in a training accident which results in them being shifted to a parallel dimension where Cobra defeated GI Joe and conquered the entire world. The Joe’s team up with the resistance, lead by the Baroness in an effort to get home.

This was the second time I was exposed to the idea of different timelines, the first having been the Star Trek Episode “Mirror Mirror”. It would be several years before I read the X-Men storyline “Days of Future Past” and had my mind completely blown. The idea that things could have been so different in another world yet so the same would influence the way I viewed or took in any form of fiction from that day forward.

Episode: 141 “The Gods Below”

This could be considered the “Jump the Shark” episode of GI Joe. In this one a team of Joe’s and a team from Cobra travel to the dimension of the ancient Egyptian gods. It was a fun episode with Cobra trying to play the gods and the Joe’s convincing them that they were on the side of righteousness.

There is not a whole lot for me to say about this one other than it gave me the idea that ancient mythology could be mixed with modern idea’s and something very cool would be the result. This was without a doubt my first introduction to the true mashup.

Episode: 207 “Computer Complications”

This is Romeo and Juliette done in GI Joe fashion and with no suicide. The overarching story has to do with computer espionage but that is just the backdrop for the true story. This was a love story. There had been romance in GI JOE before. The Baroness and Destro had a torrid love affair while Lady Jay and Flint danced around the no fraternization rules time and time again. But in this one a member of Cobra (Zaranna) infiltrates the US government and in the process she falls in love with a Joe (Mainframe) who shares the same feelings, even after it’s revealed she’s an enemy agent. The final shot of them both looking at the same moon, he from a hospital bed and she from a Cobra encampment, is beautiful and haunting.

I know this is going to sound stupid but I learned romance in part from this episode. I was so shocked that they did a bona fide romance and then several episodes later called back to when they had Zaranna let Mainframe go when she had him dead to rights without hesitation. It touched me even back in the fifth grade in a way which has never left me. I don’t know who thought of that but I would like to meet them and shake their hand.

There were other episodes that call to me in different ways but those are the three which always come to my mind when I think of the show. I watched other cartoons in those years. Robotech, Voltron, He-Man, Thundercats, and Transformers were the other biggies and while they all influenced me and I loved each of them they were minor players compared to GI Joe when it comes to cartoons which would eventually influence my creativity.

When it comes to non-cartoon shows there were several, other than Star Trek, which standout. Nightrider, The A-Team, Battlestar Galactica (watched in syndication), and The Twighlight Zone were all important and influential in my formative years. But there was one show, really two miniseries and one really bad season, that punched me in the gut. That would be the series V.

V was groundbreaking. It was the story of a human resistance trying to take back the Earth after aliens, called The Visitors, have conquered us without firing a shot. Through mind control and seizing key sectors of the economy the aliens are intent on stripping the planet of its water and its people to be used as slaves and food.

While I wrote my first tentative fan fictions on the GI Joe universe I exploded in the world of V. I created whole story arcs and characters that had nothing to do with the series yet fit firmly in the reality they’d established. I reveled in creating in that universe. It was magical and I remember it fondly.

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Sunny Days: Chasing the Clouds Away (You're The Inspiration Book 1)

  • ISBN: 9781310412035
  • Author: Gorillas With Scissors Press (GWSP)
  • Published: 2015-11-21 15:50:09
  • Words: 4843
Sunny Days: Chasing the Clouds Away (You're The Inspiration Book 1) Sunny Days: Chasing the Clouds Away (You're The Inspiration Book 1)