Years ago, when my children were little, I sometimes read stories to them. Sometimes I told them stories.
Their favourite stories were about a little guy called Thomas. A funny little fella who got things wrong, who forgot stuff and got carried away in his own imagination.
"Will you tell us a Thomas story?" one of the children would say.
"About what?" I would ask.
"Eh, em, about Thomas and the...the... monster!"
And so I would make up a story on the spot. A spontaneous Thomas story.
Thomas did nearly-bad things, nearly-mad things, said nearly-rude things; and the kids loved it.
The nice thing about telling a story like that - off the top of your head - is that it doesn't wait around to be examined, judged or criticised. Its only function is to engage and entertain right at that minute.
Writing the stories is different. It's harder, because you have to get it right. You're handing it over.
It's funny to think that the same small boy that delighted the imaginations of my children all those years ago, entertained, engaged and kept me sane during the spring 2020 Covid 19 Lockdown!
Now Thomas, after all those years in the drawer, box, copybook, my head and my children's and grandchildren's memories, you will soon there on the pages - out in the world.