as a boy and now as a much older boy, my head and heart have often been filled with the most wishful adventurous feelings. to travel, to live, to be entirely alone. to live on an island more-or-less alone has long appealed to the romantic (and impractical) side of me for as long as i can remember. an inordinate number of books line the shelves of my home and classroom dealing with life alone under challenging circumstances.
the irony of this for me is that the reality of my existence is such that my life is predicated on a highly social existence. my income being determined by my spending time in a room with twenty five students, and my family being the most important feature of my life as a whole. my wishes to experience life alone are not so much a response to this as they are an expression of the desire to know what i actually am, to experience my self without the external definitions that cloud my own perceptions of who and what i am.
one of the first stories i can recall reading that called out to this inner desire to create a solitary existence was treasure island. the birth of this story is (in my view) as fascinating and thrilling as the story itself. here in the words of the author robert louis stevenson's stepson is the actual birth of treasure island!!!! "young lloyd osbourne, stevenson's stepson, passed the rainy days painting with watercolours. remembering the time, lloyd wrote:
“ ... busy with a box of paints i happened to be tinting a map of an island i had drawn. stevenson came in as i was finishing it, and with his affectionate interest in everything i was doing, leaned over my shoulder, and was soon elaborating the map and naming it. i shall never forget the thrill of skeleton island, spyglass hill, nor the heart-stirring climax of the three red crosses! and the greater climax still when he wrote down the words "treasure island" at the top right-hand corner! and he seemed to know so much about it too —— the pirates, the buried treasure, the man who had been marooned on the island ... . "oh, for a story about it", i exclaimed, in a heaven of enchantment ...”
within three days of drawing the map for lloyd, stevenson had written the first three chapters, reading each aloud to his family who added suggestions."
hardy souls who enjoy reading books and who are inclined to read online can read treasure island in its entirety for free right here. those of you who prefer to sit back with a bowl of popcorn and a beverage, should give your mouse a click and spark up part one of treasure island
8 hours ago