Oddly, when I was a kid, about the only vague idea I had about 'what I wanted to be when I grew up' was a writer. Well, a writer and an artist, but art was something I just did anyway, and presumed that I would carry on just doing. A writer seemed to be more of a 'proper job'. I was a terrible bookworm as a kid, I really did read 'with a flashlight under covers' as Robin Williamson says in his glorious "Five Denials on Merlin's Grave". So I wrote...lots. Stories and poems mostly, believing that one day I would write a real proper book, just like all my favourite authors. Herein lies my problem. All my favourite authors were...British. Raised on a diet of C.S. Lewis, Susan Cooper, Alan Garner, Rosemary Sutcliffe, Penelope Lively, Alison Uttley, Enid Blyton (I still love 'lashings of ginger beer') and Tolkien, I wanted to write books like they wrote. And I did...once. When I was 15, for an English assignment. I think (but this is 29 years ago so I can't be sure) that the brief was to simply write a children's story. Me being me, I decided to make a real book, with 'pictures and everything'. It was called 'The Magic Sword' and I have to admit, HEAVILY influenced by 'The Hobbit'. There's even a wise old owl called 'Gandaf' (hmm, remove the 'l' and no-one will know my influences, ha HA!)
Here's the opening page.
Somehow, to be a real writer, I had to write about that kind of stuff and unfortunately, I had no experience of it. All of my favourite writers, no matter where they're from, seem to bring a very strong sense of place to their work, a real appreciation and eye for the details of nature, and I wanted to do the same, but didn't know how to fit the magic and myth of my ancestors into the landscape around me. And I think somehow that it stopped me from trying. So this remains my one and only finished book. But I read it again today, and actually, it's not bad (for a 15 year old). I might read it to my girls and get an expert opinion. And who knows, maybe I've still got a book of some sort in me!
Apologies for the dearth of posts this last week...I've had a horrible dose of the flu AND a thumper of a headache on the weekend, so not the best Mother's Day ever. I do look forward to the time my girls are big enough to put the kettle on and make me a cup of tea in bed though!