Saturday 16 May 2020

An Ode To An English Teacher...

Well, I've just had an interesting few evenings. For a little while now, I've been thinking about some of my old pieces of writing... and when I say old, I mean my real early work.

For those who don't know, I started writing at around the age of 7 or 8. I started off with few short stories, my very first, I remember, being about how my dad gave me a time machine for my birthday and how I travelled back in time and rescued a baby triceratops from a hungry T-rex. I brought him back home and kept him as a pet. I wrote my first 'novel' when I was 10. A 76 page, hand-written, fully illustrated fantasy. And have been writing novels ever since.

However, the story I had an itching to revisit was the first story I wrote on my first computer. It was a Commadore 600 I think. Don't know if that means anything to anyone. So, with eager fingers and at the sweet age of 13/14, I sat down and wrote 'Love you to Death', a tale about a girl who moves to a newly built area, meets lots of new friends only to find them being picked off one-by-one by a serial killer. Did I say I was sweet at the age of 14??

So I dug out this story, printed on an old early 1990's (possibly even 80's) printer, kept in an a4 manila envelope. The paper is so thin and brittle I felt like I was reading off ancient scrolls.

Yeah...I'm not sure whether I'm proud or ashamed. I am proud, merely for the fact I managed to write what felt like, at the time, this grown up story. And it was fully typed and everything!! BUT... having read it for the first time in around 25 years, its awful! Cringe-worthy! Its full of teenage hormones looking for their first love among the shadow of a killer. "My best friend has just been murdered!!" "Oh well, let's go for a romantic walk. That'll cheer you up!"

And the worst part?? I proudly gave this to my English teacher to read. She corrected a few typos and errors in pencil for the first few chapters, then her notes dwindled and vanished completely. I remember her praising it when she handed it back, but now I can't help but think did she actually make it to the end? Did she really persevere or was it too painful and she never had the heart to tell me? Bless her. Looking back now, I don't know whether I was hardened enough to take the criticism it needed, and hearing it may have destroyed any love of writing I had back then, so I'm thankful for what she said, whether they were lies or whether she did read the entire thing. I can only apologise now for asking her to ever read it.

It really was awful!

Actually, who am I kidding! I was 13!! I friggin love it!!!

The secret envelope

The front cover

The prologue


Wednesday 6 May 2020

IWSG - May 2020

This month's IWSG post
Created by the great Alex J. Cavanaugh 
and co-hosted by 

This month's question:

Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?

Urgh! What is going on with the world at the moment? With everything going on, life has become pretty hectic, hence why I haven't posted for a while, but I do hope you are all doing okay.

For those who need reminding, I work two part time jobs, making up full time hours. Both are in online retail. I've been furloughed from one job at the moment, which, I thought, would suddenly give me a load more spare time to finish editing my WIP...but no. Work for job#2 has exploded, and even though it's not, it still feels like it's taking up all my time. But I'm not complaining. I'm counting my lucky stars I still have a job at all. My husband is still working. He's a lorry driver, bringing back NHS equipment from Europe so he's pretty flat out at the moment too.

Plus, my parents have just moved 200 miles from Devon to be closer to us. Their moving in day was literally the day the UK went into lockdown. The removals agreed to work one last day for them otherwise they'd have a new but empty house as all their belongings would have been held in storage until the lockdown lifts. As it was, we got them in, and then I disappeared to let them self-isolate and get settled in - which was easier said than done. I do all I can but I so wish I can do more to help get them settled.

Even though the lockdown is still in force, I do find myself finally getting into some kind of routine. Work is still hectic but I have managed to find some time recently to write, and I feel it's coming on really well. Of course, that nagging self doubt will rise its head at some point as it always does, but until then, my rituals to help get into the Zone:

Chores done
House empty (other half working)
Coffee by the side of me
Cats settled
Comfy position on the sofa
Laptop at the ready
Headphones untangled or Bluetooth speaker on
Music options selected (I use my phone)
Deep breath
Press play

That about does it for me. No burning incense or ritual incantations. I spend most of the day thinking about writing when I can't write so theoretically come writing time, I know what to write. I say theoretically...

What about you guys?

Anyway, keep safe everyone. Can't reiterate that enough.