I don’t normally do the dpchallenges but this one intrigued me as it is more like an interview than a piece of fiction. And I thought I’d have a go. So here is my reflection in a puddle, be a small one.
In this challenge, tell us how you fell in love with books and writing. Not sure how to get started? Here are some questions to gently nudge your memory and your muse:
- Which books did you love growing up? Which poems?
I didn’t learn to read until I was eleven. By then I was sick of Jack and Jill, whether they had a red bucket or not. So my Mum dug out Black Beauty and 101 Dalmatians. What helped was that we didn’t have TV all the time. It only came on for an hour with children’s TV so you had to find another way to entertain myself. Books were a huge thing in the house. They were (and still are) everywhere, from the bathroom to the dining room and even in the kitchen. So it was hugely frustrating that I couldn’t read. Mum always read.
One day mum got out Black Beauty. She read it to me and I was hooked. When she wasn’t there I would try to read, and slowly, so very slowly, I got it. The words became pictures and I re-wired my brain to understand. Then came 101 Dalmatians, a brilliant book that was never done justice by any of the movies, I read it cover to cover in a little over a month. After that I read everything. It was like someone had taken me over to Alice’s rabbit hole and let me look down it, and then whispered I could have it all at my fingertips. A whole new world opened up and I loved it.
- Do you remember your first original composition? What was it? How did you feel while writing it?
The first story I ever wrote was about a promiscuous bunny rabbit. The school project was to create a book. I did two. One about a mermaid and the other about Mrs Bunny who kept having children…
No really that was my concept for childbirth. I think it was because I had heard adults talk about girls ‘popping out another child’. I took it literally. I loved those books and, as far as I know, I think Mum still has them somewhere. Made from thick sugar paper (like the kind used in old-fashioned scrapbooks) and coloured in with pencil crayon. They are not the best stories but they are made with wonder and love. After all, I was entering the world of books by writing and drawing a story.
- Did you secret your writing away or share it with family and friends?
Now I write all the time, but there was a patch of twenty plus years in the middle where I didn’t write. I loved telling stories but for a while I listened to others who told me that I couldn’t write because of my dyslexia. The result is now, when I write something, I am so pleased that I show it to everyone, even the dog.
- What sort of writing do you enjoy doing best? Fiction? Nonfiction? Creative Nonfiction? Poetry? Memoir? Other?
I love fiction. I read masses of it, mostly darker tales with a twist but also romance. I do read memoirs, not biographies, but stories about an aspect of someone’s lives; how they survived or got through a situation.
- What are your writerly aspirations? Do you write for yourself, or to become published?
My writing ambition is to be able to make a living from the writing. Not millions. I have no interest in fame and I love my little life being quiet. I would love to get one of my children’s novels published and maybe an adult one… Basically, I just love to write and I would be happy if that is what I did/do…
- Why do you write?
I tell stories. All the time. Why not just write them down?
- What keeps you writing?
The reader’s reaction; sometimes they smile, sometimes they cry and other times they grimace or look shocked. When you do a reading and on finishing there is that moment of silence, just a second, and then they clap. That is the best.
- Do you have a daily writing practice? Tell us about it.
Every morning I spring out of bed and go to my workshop. There I write in the morning, then I draw, and then I write some more. The morning is usually the latest book and the afternoon is short stories and poems. Not sure why this works, it just does. If I get stuck or have an ideas problem then I go garden for a while. A bit of weeding and usually I can go back fully refreshed.