On Writing: Toy Soldiers

I wrote “Toy Soldiers” one afternoon after listening to the song “Toy Soldiers” by Martika. This song hit the charts when I was in Grade 7, and it was likely an inspiration from Eminem that got me to listen to the full song again. When I was 12 I was perplexed by this song, specifically by the idea that toy soldiers could fall down. This implied a sense of animated autonomy to me. When I listened to the song some 25 years later, I remembered the vision of the animate toy soldiers falling down.

The toy soldiers in my story do not fall down. They seek revenge against humanity with a rebellion. Reading this story now some ten years after it was written, I am also struck by how often I wrote about humanity paying for its crimes. While crimes against toys are not real charges for a tribunal, I liked to think of it as a blanket script for human error. For example, humanity has treated animals as their playthings for millennia. In this case, humans do have to answer for their supposed crimes.

The rocking horse in “Toy Soldiers” was an homage to Boxer from the George Orwell masterpiece Animal Farm. Boxer was dim witted, but always dedicated to his cause. The rocking horse is similarly limited in what he can accomplish. He does, however, fight for the cause even if there is little in it for him.

If there were an epilogue for this story it would have included Jack’s parents finding his lifeless body in the morning. It is generally frowned upon to kill children in fiction or horror movies as if they are regarded as just another person. I have struggled with this concept since I was a child myself. I am not sure whether in Western culture it is too much of a trigger for adults who have lost children, or if in our capitalist society we regard children as a commodity that has yet to be exploited. There is nothing sadder in a capitalist society than resources that are untouched.


“Toy Soldiers.” Inscribed ~ A Magazine For Writers, Volume One Issue Four. December, 2006.

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