I wasn’t always a writer. I’m a jack of all trades, and I’m sure you know the second half of the expression. My mother said I was an eager, early reader. As a kid, I always wrote letters and diaries, but I also loved to draw. Age 5, I declared I would be an artist when I grow up. I still think that’s what I am.
My grade 5 teacher, Mrs Smith, was the first to suggest that I might have potential as a writer. But I never made up stories. What does a pragmatic 10 year old write about if she doesn’t like making stuff up?
Fast forward to first year university. Of course! A writer of truth is a journalist. But news and current affairs didn’t engage my imagination. I shelved the idea and directed my word-love at linguistics instead. I still love that shit! But there’s no income in it.
Clearly, teaching is that thing people do when their skill set doesn’t fit in a box. I loved teaching literacy and language. But after having a baby at 30, my energy was finite. Mothering smothered my professional aspirations. All that caring is hard emotional work and dammit, I was tired!
My journals moved from pen and paper to online formats, and then I started a blog. I didn’t acquire a large following. The blogosphere was still a baby and social media not even a twinkle in the internet’s eye. But after multiplying myself by three, it was the easiest outlet for my creativity. I had a brief fling with pottery but that requires the patience of a Zen Master (with unstructured free time). Writing personal essay was more forgiving.
After my fourth and final baby I began to take my writing life more seriously. Or maybe it began to take me seriously. Writing became the thing I couldn’t not do. I enrolled in a Masters in Creative Writing but I still wasn’t drawn to writing fiction, or even publishing, so I dropped out – again. Raising four small children isn’t compatible with anything else. One day, I may return to it. Oh, but what’s that? A shiny new idea for a business?
Through my business start-up, I continued to write about my own life and it incrementally became something more. Eventually I discovered I had a book-length story, polished until it glistens, and maybe others will want to read it too?
Now I am middle aged. I’m ready to begin my next project. But what do I do with my opus? It isn’t evergreen enough to linger in a bottom drawer. I am realistic about my chances of being published in our post-covid-19 economy. I’m exploring self-publishing, but does the world really need another memoir? Do I really want to monetise my art? I just want readers for my stories. I want people to be moved, or changed, or expanded by them. I’ll share excerpts here, and other things that inspire me. Be kind, dear reader. I present to you my heart on this page.