Don’t dream it, be it
As a clumsy and apprehensive 6 year old I once wrote a story for a school project which was really just a parody of Jack and the Bean Stalk. Nevertheless, my teacher loved it so much he pulled me aside and told me to keep writing. I still have that story; it remains one of my greatest achievements. At 13 an English teacher told me I had this thing called “talent”. Two years later a third teacher flagged me down as I was leaving his school for the last time and told me not to give up, that I was special and had a gifted imagination. This wasn’t news to me: I’d been writing since I was 6 and had a real passion for the craft. Don’t get me wrong, I lacked self-confidence like most teenagers and by no means did I entertain lofty thoughts of a career as a writer – not then. What I had was an enthusiasm for story-telling, an infatuation for fictional characters and a healthy desire to escape the miseries of youth. I wrote because I chose to and because it was easy . I wrote as an act of resistance, but mostly it was one of redemption. I’m 36 now, I’ve published a short story am doing a Master of Arts in Creative Writing and hoping to switch to a Doctorate soon, but every day I find myself wishing more that I could write with the same abandon, the same ease as I did when I was young. Writing as an adult is hard. Over the years we collect bad habits, bad attitudes, and a host of neuroses which inhibit the creative flow. This is the gray world of inhibitions the teachers didn’t warn us about.
So the point of this blog? To find a way through that grayness and rediscover the splendor of crafting a good story. I know what is to fail and succeed as a writer. At times I’ve hated the craft and wished I’d chosen (or been chosen for) some other vocation, but a I writer dream of being. A writer I am. Which brings me to the heading of this introductory post: don’t dream it, be it. The late great Frank N Furter of Rocky Horror Picture Show fame sang it while wearing lingerie and floating in a pool of crystal clear water. I’ve lived with this song in my head since I was 9, believing in its message, but never really submitting to it. This blog is my attempt no just at being a writer but of doing the work of a writer: to share, record and entertain.
My educational/vocational background:
- Bachelor of Arts majoring in Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology with minors in linguistics and communication studies,
- Graduate Diploma of Arts specialising in Biological Anthropology,
- Master of Arts in professional writing (in progress),
- Four years as a manuscript support person/report writer/editor in a research centre of a major tertiary hospital.
My attempts at the writing exercises: