Friday, July 13, 2018

The Lost Works of Wade Bradford

I probably have a couple lost writing projects... nothing as vast or as crippling as a lost novel. I do have a missing screenplay I wrote back in the 90s called The Silver Squadron, about a group of octogenarian superheroes... But I'm not too sad about that because I was really just ripping off Watchmen, but in a slightly humorous way.

There are probably other half-baked, unfinished scripts that have disappeared over the years as well... And that's fine. But there are a few things that have gone missing that make me rather sad. Here are the three most melancholy-inducing lost works which are currently missing from my library of personal projects:

Issue #4 of Space Bounty Hunters from Hell...

I was so stupid. I had drawn four comics books by hand, which my friends and I loved -- especially my best friend, Joshua. Then, I adapted the characters into a screenplay version. I loved this quirky little sci-fi-comedy world I had created. There was an agent I was working with at the time -- he was never officially my agent, but he kept reading my scripts until he got sick of me... I think that was around High Moon (my infamous vampire western). Anyway, I wanted to impress him with not just my screenplay, but I wanted to show him the comic book origins of Space Bounty Hunters. So I decided to send him issue #4, which was the best one in terms of humor and art work. I went to Kinkos to make a copy, but the young lady working there told me that they couldn't scan the oversized pages and make them fit onto an 8X10 copy. If I remember correctly, the words she used were: We don't have to do that here. Which perplexed and vexed me so that I decided to send the agent the original comic, thinking that the agent would keep it handy and send it back at some point after reading it.

When I chatted with him about it a month later, he said that he had dumped the comic in the recycling. And so the further adventures of Oboe Williams and Trigger Scalpswap are lost forever.

Ninja Man

In seventh grade, there was a kid named Dan Bolton who was obsessed with karate and ninja stars and kung fu stuff. I don't think he was any good at it -- he was a scrawny little nerd like me. But he claimed that he could defeat anyone in the school if he wanted to...

He moved to Reno, Nevada at the end of the year, and despite his dorkiness I guess I must have missed him because I made an entire comic book series (about 60 pages in total, I think) during my eighth grade year. My fellow classmate became interested in reading these daily comics, and I gained a modicum of renown for them. I also devoted far much ore time to the comics instead of school work.

Anyway, I am not sure what happened to that collection, but I haven't seen them since high school. I believe in our garage there is one page of the comic... And that's all that remains of the dazzling escapades of Dan Bolton, full time student, part-time ninja.

Dragonflies and Dandelions

So, this is my lost play... And of all the missing materials, this is the one I miss the most. It's lost in a special way, too... One that gives me hope. I'll get to that later. Let's talk about what the play is about.

It's called Dragonflies and Dandelions because the initials spell DAD. it's a tribute to my father, and written when he was still alive and relatively healthy. But I think my younger self somehow knew that Dad wasn't long for this world -- since he had smoked so much... And already seemed old to me... I spent my late teens and early twenties writing about him and sometimes for him in one way or another.

Anyway, one of my early community college experiences was a directing class. I wrote and directed a one-act play called Dragonflies and Dandelions. It was about a father and son, not-so-loosely based upon my dad and me. The two characters are in the laundry room of their home, and the father is teaching his son how to do the laundry, because soon he will be on his own and he'll need to know how to do it.

During the process, the father tells stories of his early days, including narratives about his surveyor days in Alaska, his dangerous flights during the Korean War, and a Japanese American girl he had a crush on during World War II (she was taken away to an internment camp -- and he always wondered what had become of her...)

I wanted to film a video of the production, but our instructor, Arden Flom -- what a great name! -- would not allow it. And any physical copies of the scripts were kept by the actors. One of my best friends, Jeff Griffith was one of them, but I don't think he has it anymore. The play was stored on a floppy disk, and I still have that disk. The problem is, I no longer have the old Brother Word Processor that can access the disk... it broke way back in the mid 1990s. 

So, until I find the same brand of that old dinosaur of a computer I once owned, Dragonflies and Dandelions will remain a lost gem. 

What About You?

Hey there, writer friends... do you have any lost works? Tell me about'em. 


  1. That comic book for your friend reminds me of that time I wrote this horrible crossover fan fiction abomination for my sister in elementary school. I guess this counts as a "lost" work. I've since burned the pages and flushed the ashes down the toilet (because middle-school me was that dramatic). But part of me wishes I hadn't done that, since I want to look back and laugh at how horrible my writing was at the time. For now, I settle for the myriad of journals I've kept since first grade.

    I vaguely remember the first skit I've written in fourth grade. It was for a talent show, and I thought I was good enough to be an actor and a playwright at the time. This is what happens when the year prior you get a big ego from being the "star performer" of the school play (because I was the only third-grader who knew how to memorize lines for some reason) and the best pianist from the previous talent show. I've since decided that acting and writing plays was not my talent. The physical copies of the play, however, were tossed in the nearest trashcan because I was that embarrassed after my performance.

    1. Yes, Jodee, I think even when the author decides to burn the manuscript it definitely counts as a "lost work." Apparently, Gerard Manley Hopkins (one of my favorite Victorians) burned much of his early poetry because he thought it was vain (he was a Jesuit priest.)