Hello and Welcome!
I never thought I would have an author’s site. All my writing has mainly been kept a secret. I didn’t share it with anyone. As a child I made up stories all the time to delight, amuse and scare my friends but these were mainly oral monologues, nothing with the written word. As I reached secondary school, I started to write things down and interested teachers of English encouraged me to keep going, sending my stories in to the school magazine. That was the first time I ever saw something of mine in print. I was suddenly nervous as I realised I had opened myself up to the world – well, to my peers at school anyway. Other people could read my words – there was suddenly a permanence that the spoken words had not had. My written words endured; my fleeting oral stories blew away on the same breeze that greeted them as they left my mouth.
Books were my passion – I loved reading. History, animals and music were also in the running as my favourite things. But I was a lonely child and had no animal companions, so books, history and music were my constants. As I reached 11 or 12, I began to write lyrics for songs I wanted to one day sing on a dazzling stage. I loved to belt out songs I had listened to on the radio, I can remember dancing around the back garden happily singing the theme song to the tv series ‘Fame!’, feeling so alive, so energised. When I came back in the house my mother was waiting for me.
‘Have you finished now?’, she asked flatly.
‘Good, you can’t hold a tune’. She delivered the crushing verdict matter-of-factly.
But a power seemed to rise from nowhere and course through me when a beat spoke to me – I had to move to it, dance and sing out. But the words, the lyrics were so important too, I responded to songs that told a story or spoke about emotion. I hated not being able to hear what someone was singing, either because their instruments muffled their meaning, or my radio reception crackled and waned inconsistently through the Top 40 countdown. I still sing. In the shower, in the car, in front of my family only. But I still sing.
Words were important to me. I constantly asked questions desperate to derive meaning from what was going on around me. As the teenage years gathered pace, I started to write about how I felt, about the emotions and feelings I had about those around me. It wasn’t written in a conventional diary but in an A4 book with a red material cover and lots of lined pages which I could fill up with my words whenever I could sneak off and write. It was a release for me to let things out, to use my words to try and make sense of what I was feeling. That was important, I used my words to investigate, sift through the layers, trying to understand myself and those around me – I prodded and poked with my words. I scribbled furiously, following one thought down a rabbit hole then picking up another twisting, turning feeling and following that to a confusing roundabout or dead end. Until my mother found the book.
I didn’t write for a while. It didn’t feel safe. The written word had got me into trouble. If you didn’t write, didn’t ask questions, that was safer, acceptable. After a few months I started writing stories again aware of how important they were in my life and becoming aware of how important they were in the history of any culture, any nation, any family. What we know about ourselves, who we are is literally handed down in stories. Whether these are told in the history class or in family traditions, they guide and inform us. But as I said at the start, I never thought I would have a website dedicated to sharing my written words, my stories. I had learnt to keep them secret. But sharing our words shapes us. We may get lost in the story that a book paints for us, but we can so often find ourselves too…