Sometimes I forget how long it is since I ventured into the weird world of social media but Facebook very kindly reminds me on a daily basis with its “You have memories with…. to look back on today”
I don’t always check these out. I’ll be honest, it sometimes depends on who it says I have memories to share with.
One caught my eye about a week or so ago. It was a memory from 2010 from a school friend.
“Don’t know why I remember this so clearly but you wrote a book in school with a character called Maggie or Megan, didn’t you? Did you keep up the writing thing?”
A short conversation followed this post:
Friend – I think I just remember being really impressed at the time.
Me – I tried writing short stories for a few years but never got anything published. Tried again a few years later with children’s stuff but no luck. Still scribble for my own amusement. Really touched that you remember. Thanks x
Friend – Hey – look at JK Rowling! Should give it another go. Was it Megan or Maggie?
Me- Megan x
I was, and still am, very touched that she remembered my early literary efforts.
And to be honest, she wasn’t the first school friend to quiz me years after the fact out of the blue.
A few years earlier, I met another old school friend when our daughters both went to the same dance class. She too remembered my teenage “story” and I recall flushing scarlet as she told the other mothers present that she got her sex education from my story! EEKKK!!!!
(Yes, even at fifteen and sixteen I wrote romantic fiction…..)
The Facebook memory got me thinking….reflecting…
I was fourteen when I started that “story”. My reporter notebook and pen went everywhere with me for about three years, maybe four.
The story itself was a family saga spanning three generations of women – Terri, Bethan and Megan. I would love to have shared a little bit of it here but ,despite an extensive search earlier today, I can’t find the box in the loft that has the sixteen reporter notebooks in it. I still have it….somewhere!
There are a lot of parallels between then and now as to why I write.
Basically, it’s an escape from my own reality for a while.
Back then it was an escape from the school bullies and was a way to cope with secondary school. I would sit in a corner at lunchtimes and write. After school, I would walk into town to meet my mum from work. Many an hour was spent sitting writing in her office as I waited on her finishing for the day. I also wrote at night, alone, listening to my music. (I’m still listening to some of the same music to this day!)
Now, it’s a means to relax after a long day and, yes, it’s still an escape from my reality. Yes, it’s still a coping mechanism. If I haven’t written for a few days, I can tell! Those who are close to me can also tell. Occasionally, I will spend a wet lunch hour writing at my desk instead of venturing out for a walk. Mainly, I write at night, alone, listening to my music.
Once I find those reporter notebooks (I wonder where they are hiding?) will anything ever come of the “story”? Highly unlikely but never say never. The first incarnation of Jake Power is actually written in “Megan’s” part of the story. ( I told you he’d been in my head for a very long time….almost thirty years in fact! EEEKK!)
Has my approach to how I write changed since the mid-1980’s? Eh……………..no.
I still write everything long hand in crazy colours of ink. I still need a new notebook and a new pen every time I start a new “long story” or “book baby”.
Now I buy A4 notebooks and tend to buy four or five the same to ensure that each book baby has its own identity. (Book Baby 4 is blue)
I’ll confess…. I’ve already bought the notebooks for Book Baby 5, which will be a Silver Lake tale, too. They’re purple.
If I rounded them up, I’ve probably got enough pens to start a shop! I love pens! Love multi-coloured ink. Even at work in the salt mine I use a Bic pen that has four colour options. No, not blue, black, red and green. Mine has pink, blue, purple and green ink….trademark pen! Lol
Back then, I wrote primarily with a green Berol pen ( I’ve just realised that I’ve picked up a green pen to write the first draft of this blog…some things never change.)
As a teenager, I let very few people read what I wrote. I guess I was terrified that folk would laugh at my story. That instilled a deep rooted fear in me of sharing my words with people. It’s one I still struggle with. Its taken a long time for me to feel even remotely comfortable with sharing my work. A crippling fear for a storyteller.
When I had that Facebook conversation with my old school friend back in October 2010, reflecting back on whether it was Maggie or Megan, little did I know the path I would venture down three short years later.
So, here I am, sitting here reflecting (and procrastinating a tad) on my stories.
If there are any of you reading this who are debating whether to write that book you’ve always dreamed of writing, I have one simple piece of advice. Go for it!
A friend posted a motivational quote on his Facebook wall a few years ago that has always stuck with me, become my mantra almost.
Now pick up that pen ( it doesn’t matter what colour the ink is) and tell your story to the world.