Dear new friends,
It’s hard to know exactly how to begin this, isn’t it? I mean, I don’t even know your names, so I can’t begin the e-mail with a proper beginning that says ‘hello’ to you properly. You know, ‘Hello Susan and Dave and Ravi and Bridgid and so on…’ So I hope you’ll forgive me for just saying ‘new friends’ and understand that it includes all of you.
My name’s Ashley. That’s what the ‘A’ of the ‘A.F.’ stands for, and you should feel free to call me Ashley because I’m not a teacher or anything like that, so there’s no need to ‘Mr Harrold’ or ‘Sir’ me.
I’ve been told that you’re going to be reading my novel Fizzlebert Stump: The Boy Who Ran Away From The Circus (And Joined The Library). I hope you enjoy it and aren’t so tired after reading the title (which is, I’ll admit, a little longer than many titles you find these days) that you never get round to reading the book. I think you’re going to enjoy it, especially the bit where Fizzlebert finds the golden ticket and gets to visit the chocolate factory, but is accidentally kidnapped by robots (who mistake him for the dog who rules the world) before he can even get there. That bit’s very funny…
…I’m going to ask you to do a little bit of writing for me (that’s what I’m supposed to do, no need to groan) that I think won’t spoil anything.
I’d like you each to write me three sentences. Just that. Easy, eh?
I want you to tell me your name.
I want to tell me what it is that you do.
I want you to tell what happens then.
But I want you to use your imagination too. So, instead of telling me the truth, I want you to make it up. I want you to pretend that you are in the circus and that you have an act.
My name is Fizzlebert Stump, The Boy Who Puts His Head In The Lion’s Mouth!
The lion, Charles, leans forwards and opens his terrifying mouth wide, and I stick my head in!
And then I take it out again as the audience cheers!
My name is The Fumbling Gloriosus.
I carry a tray of cups and saucers and plates and eggs and pineapples and bowls of custard.
And then I drop them everywhere and people point and laugh.
My name is Tracy the Amazing.
I juggle dogs.
And then they bite me as the audience cheers.
My name is The Incredible Simon.
I eat one hundred and seven baked beans in the space of twenty seconds.
And then the audience mumbles because it’s not really that impressive.
I want to know: Your Circus Name.
I want to know: Your circus act, give me a little bit of detail. Make it funny or odd or very impressive.
I want to know: How the act ends and how the audience react to the act. Do they like it? Do they not?
When picking your circus name think of what you can add to your ordinary name to make it more exciting: Samantha the Superb; Surprising Stephen; The Mighty Mysterious Marjorie; Rubbish Ralph. (Remember a funny act, like a clown, might need a funny name, a magician on the other hand might need a seriously impressive one: no laughing.)
I really look forward to hearing from you when I get back and hearing what weird circus acts you come up with.