My Journey to the Plateau:
I have never much cared for alarm clocks. I find them an abrasive way to wake each morning. My eyes seem to pop open around six in the morning no matter how late the previous night has kept me. To ensure that I won't fall back asleep, I switch on the television. It was inevitable then, that in early 2003, I should stumble onto The Lost World – to be precise, Dead Man's Hill. For those familiar with the episode, imagine not knowing who Ringo, Sheriff Jack, or Vee were as the story unfolded –my only acquaintance with Marguerite (not Maylene, mine you), was the brief teaser before the title. I was intrigued.
The series played through all 66 episodes three or four times that year. I watched as many as I could, but in no particular order. For me, the treehouse was whisked into the heart of the storm before I even met Summerlee. I remember watching my final episode; I had made a handwritten list. As the ending credits rolled, I put the last check mark on my page... and that was it.
I bought the three season DVD set. Over the next four years whenever I missed the Plateau I would play TLW roulette. That is to say, without looking: I would select a disc, put it into the player, and bounce the episode indicator to a random pick. Then I would go to bed. As I woke the next morning I would switch on my TV and press play.
Most TLW episodes start with a sweeping, panoramic shot of the rain forest accompanied by a brief orchestral arrangement. As the image dissolves, we hear sounds of the jungle and then we drop in on our adventurers. It takes a bit of time before you identify which episode you are watching. In these moments of uncertainty I am drawn back to 2003; the show is alive with possibility and anything might happen.
In early 2008, I wrote my very first fan fiction. At the time I had never before heard the term 'fan fiction'. I naively believed that I was alone in this desire to further the adventures of the Challenger Expedition. As I searched for a way to share my story, I found scores of other authors and thousands of tales. Seven years have passed. I have read hundreds of new adventures to add to the original 66 episodes. Perhaps even some that sprang from your imagination.
Through it all, one question puzzled me: What is so special about the treehouse. What is this hold that the Plateau and its band of misfits has on me, and so many others. I recently wrote a piece where Marguerite asked herself that same question:
How was it that this place – this dirty little bamboo hut in the trees – had become more of a home to her than anywhere she had ever been? The answer seemed simple, but it was not.
I believe that the answer is acceptance. The treehouse is a magical retreat with a room for everyone – a place where our strengths are valued and our weaknesses forgiven. In short, it is very unlike the world we live in. The Plateau is a lost world where we can become the very best versions of ourselves.
This tiny little corner of the world wide web is ours. I like to believe that it is alive with possibility and that anything might happen.