Friday, 22 April 2011

In the beginning ....

          A few years ago I bought a writers magazine for my daughter who was about to embark on a university course in creative writing. However, I found the mag fascinating and started putting pen to paper myself! One of the competitions in the mag was to write a short story based on a simple photograph. I remember the picture well – it was a woman with a red umbrella walking up some steps. I wrote the story but didn’t submit it. At least it was a beginning!

         Soon afterwards I read a novel which began with someone describing photographs to a blind girl. There was a story in everything she described: the reason why the caravan was at an angle, the weather, the tree, the Spring flowers. This inspired me to start building a family story book on the photos I have in biscuit tins and ice-cream tubs. It was like stepping into a time machine with every picture; I recalled the occasion, the place, the people, the laughs, and the tears.  Needless to say this can leave one in a rather quiet and melancholic state of mind. I have written short stories and poetry, but I don’t have the patience to carry an entire novel. 
        When my mother turned 70, we bought her a lever-arch file, a pad of paper and a brand new pen and instructed her to write down her life story! She was always saying things like: “When we were kids….”, or “Your Granddad used to….”.  She enjoyed the experience and we now have a lovely story of her childhood, early days of marriage, travels to a far away country, fears and aspirations. Although I’m nowhere near 70, I decided I needed to at least start on my own life story – for my children and still-to-come grandchildren!  I’ve got 67 pages, with a few photos, and haven’t yet got to the part of meeting my darling husband!
       Fortunately I’m a diary writer. For my first Christmas after finishing school, my sister gave me a very small page-by-page diary to record my first impressions of working life. The following year I continued on note-pads – which are now falling apart and almost out of date order! Apart from quite a gap when my children were very small – which would probably have been good fun and the most interesting parts of a diary – I’ve sat each morning over coffee and breakfast and recorded frustrations, the weather, and family news, so it was easy to start writing a life-story, but it’s possibly also a life-long task!
       And then to blogs ….. And a family website ….. And an internet-published story …. And a real published poem! 
      Come to think of it, I have a vague memory of saying I was “writing a story” as a 9 or 10 year old, so maybe the beginning was earlier than I thought!?

No comments:

Post a Comment