It started as a fun assignment, a way to celebrate 350. I didn’t think anybody would actually, you know – like it, or anything. I haven’t been working here too long, either. I thought it’d be a way for us to all get to know each other, but when I brought it up, no one really seemed to like it. And now look where we are!
Oh, wow – this is how you can tell I’m just an editor at the Times. I don’t know how to tell a story. There, I’ve launched into the plot and everything without giving the setting or the characters or anything. And no, instead of just starting over, I’m babbling about it. Maybe that adds personality? Or maybe it just makes people want to stop reading. Don’t! I’ll back up and explain. Honest.
I work at the Neopian Times. I’m an editor of sorts. Nothing like Droplet, but I do read over stories and such. I haven’t been working here very long. I think the only reason I was hired was since I’m so enthusiastic. My name is Kelsey, and I’m a yellow Kacheek. Obviously, a very eager yellow Kacheek. Which kinda bugs a lot of people. Which is maybe why I didn’t think anybody would like my idea. But I do have a really great friend here – Sky. She’s a green Shoyru, and totally cut out for this job. I mean, she’s an editor, too. And she’s perfect for it.
She sorta helped me meet people around here, and she helped me with my idea. Right. My idea. I should explain that now, I suppose. It was basically my idea for us editors to do a little something, since it’s issue 350 and all. Most of Neopia doesn’t really know about us, so I thought it would be cool if we sorta switched roles and got ourselves published in the Times, for once.
And then I thought we could go a step further than that. We could all write a little something that’s exactly 350 words. And, well, this thing turned out to be mine.
A green Shoyru tips her glasses forward to the tip of her nose. She sees you, but she’s doesn’t react. She’s just a curious green Shoyru. Named Sky, oddly enough. Sky green? How peculiar.
She almost looks as if she has something big and bold to say, but the more you try to pull it out of her, the more uncomfortable she looks. Maybe she’s not quite what you thought she was. Maybe she’s just a green Shoyru. Maybe this scenario just makes no sense.
Suddenly, the setting changes. Wait, was there even a setting before? No, not really. You can just blame the Shoyru for that. You could blame a lot of things on her, but right now she’s trying to tell a story. So now you’re in a library. No, never mind. It’s the book shop in Neopia Central. There’s that blue Nimmo. Why not just write a story about him? He’s much more interesting that this Shoyru.
The Shoyru is very bad at telling a story. You could put the Neopian Times down right now. You probably should, though it might frustrate Kelsey and all the other editors. Just pretend what you’re reading makes sense. Seriously. This random Shoyru will be done with this “story” soon enough.
It’s clear to you now that this green Shoyru is not a writer. That’s why she’s just an editor, and why she should stay like that. She’s sorry. She’s very, very sorry, because it turns out she was wrong.
And you’re supposed to listen to this for 350 words? Well, of course, you’re not listening. But reading. Are you sure your eyes aren’t burning? This will be the last time the editors ever attempt to write. Or, the last time for this editor, at least.
I should just start over. I mean, the Shoyru should.
You’re at the Money Tree, lying in the shade. She’s sorry for the abrupt setting change, of course. But she’s smiling, for a change. You, on the other hand, are very confused. How is this celebrating 350? What does it have to do with anything?
Edward lay on the hill. His soft yellow Lupe ears blew in a relaxing breeze. The moment was still. He was far from a decision, but for a moment, that didn’t matter. On one side of him rested Meridell, welcoming and familiar. But on the other edge was Brightvale, new and great. The neatly trimmed grass seemed much greener over there.
Ma was in Meridell. He couldn’t see her, but he saw the petpets corralled and the Turdle races. He saw the breads and cheeses he had eaten day after day. They seemed much further away now.
The hill wasn’t all that high.
Brightvale wasn’t all that different.
Sure, the petpets were replaced with scrolls, and they sold exquisite fruits instead of stale bread. But where had this inexplicably curiosity come from? What drew him to the trimmed hedges and gated shops and stained-glass windows.
The sun faded deeper into the setting sky. Purple clouds hovered around Edward in a remarkably patient way.
Meridell had Ma, obviously. Ma would not go to Brightvale. Ma would not, deep down, approve of Brightvale. Ma would put on a smile so that Edward would feel reassured, but she would live out the rest of her life in Meridell. She wouldn’t even visit.
Shouldn’t that alone be the deciding factor? His own mother? Shame fell across his face like a shadow. Did he even deserve to return to a mother he disregarded so? He just wanted to go home. But which way was that?
Why did there always have to be a choice? His paws brushed over smooth blades of grass. From this neutral hill, he could have both. Couldn’t he just stay where he was? Or just travel freely between the two? Was a need to commit ingrained so deeply within him? And then there was Ma and her pressuring and her dreams.
A decision wouldn’t be a decision forever. He could go back and forth. It wouldn’t be right, or fair. But he could. He could visit. Sighing, contemplating, he looked both ways once more and rolled down the hill, towards home.
* * *
How did Kelsey trick me into this? Seriously, writing 350 words? How creative. It’s not like you’d really want to read anything from us editors, anyway. We’re editors for a reason. Especially me.
I suppose the most intriguing thing would be to explain a bit about myself. I am one of the most famous editors working here at the Times, and I suppose my 350 words will give Kelsey’s little project some more credibility. I’ve been working here the longest out of all of them, and therefore I’m probably most experienced. I’ve probably got the most responsibilities, too. I’ve probably read over most of the things you see in the Times.
I’m really not good with words, though, so expect a lot lot lot lot lot lot lot of filler. I know about writing essays. 350 words is a lot (lot lot lot lot lot).
My name is Eric, and I’m an extremely attractive royal Lupe.
But I have humble beginnings.
For the longest time I would sit alone in my room, the unfortunate pet of a neglectful owner. I would read. I would devour knowledge – devour the pains of others to conceal my own pains. That’s why I edit now. It’s definitely different to read the raw versions. I always wondered how much of my favorite authors’ words had been whittled away from what they originally were. When I think like that, I start to hate my job.
When I remember the privilege of being the first to read the words of contemporary authors, I change my mind. I rarely change words, anyway.
After what seemed like years (but was really weeks), I was disowned. I preferred the Pound, and kept to my corner, reading in the dim light. I remember when I once found a typo in The Complete History of Wockies – and it made my day. I quite liked the Pound, actually.
A few years ago, I was strolling through Neopia, complaining about a typo in this wonderful story in the Times. Then, suddenly, out of no where, was a job offer. And here we are now.
Oh, sweet Fyora, my editors are a mess! I’m Annie, a pink Kyrii who also works at the Times. I’m a real editor. Kelsey, Sky, Edward, and Eric are all my interns. They tend to get overexcited. So here I am, working extra hard getting ready for the big 350, and this somehow finds its way onto my desk.
However, I do have to say, it was a very cute idea little Kelsey came up with. She’s always suggesting things like that. Usually, I don’t really listen, but credit where credit is due, she really gave it her all this time. Which was great, but they really are editors for a reason. They don’t know how to tell a story.
Sky, the sweetheart, had a really tough time with this. She’s been flustered all week, and I suppose I see why. She really wants to be a writer. She has for ages. She’s even submitted stuff under her owner’s name – and it’s good. She just gets so nervous. The poor little Shoyru just seems so discouraged.
Edward was the only one who took a narrative approach. He’s always writing, too, just not as deep as Sky, I suppose. He loves fantasy and adventure – Meridell in particular. He and Eric used to live there. I talked to him, just a few minutes ago, and he says the story wasn’t supposed to be so ambiguous. He just ran out of space. 350 words isn’t much, you know.
Eric, on the other hand, lied through his teeth. He’s not a royal Lupe. He’s a blue Lupe, and Edward’s brother, in fact. The two lived in an affluent part of Meridell before moving here. And then they came to me and practically begged for a job.
I suppose that’s really it. This was a really sweet thing for my editors to do. I’m all for its publication. I just thought I’d tie up a few loose ends first.
Happy 350, from all of us, to all of you!
And don’t worry. You won’t have to hear from us again for another 50 issues.