Four years ago, maybe more, my husband built me a high-tec PC. From scratch. “You need to write” he said.
So I used it to write sniggering little lines on Facebook about how unfulfilled I was. Sometimes they were funny enough for people to comment “You’re good. You should write a book”
“You’re funny, you should write a blog”
“You’re funny, you should write.”
Two years ago, he gave me his laptop. “Write” he said. I started tweeting. More moaning, less jokes (fewer characters and I don’t work. I’m not great at being succinct)
“I don’t know what to write,” I wailed. “I don’t know HOW to write.”
“Just write” he said.
6 months ago he bought me OmmWriter. “Write” he said
I opened OmmWriter. I liked it. It makes tinkly hippyish music against a background of growing trees etc. I closed it. “I haven’t got anything to say”
5 weeks ago, I met someone for lunch who is a DO-er. “Write a blog” she said.
There followed some wailing about not having time, not having ideas, not being able to sit down and figure out WordPress. There was something in her clear, pragmatic advice that cut through my perfectionist underachievement to make me go home and DO IT.
I’ve started blogging, every day. It’s split my head open and flooded it with light, like David Tennant turning into Matt Smith on Doctor Who. Every day now, I have to write. I’m not saying much, but more and more and more and more, I’m thinking again, getting ideas, FEELING creative. Feeling… BOLDER. Feeling… OLDER. In a good way.
Yesterday I had a germ of an idea of how to make a teeny start. Not a massive one. I’m not JK Rowling. But I can see a path. I can feel it, calling me. I have to have to have to have to have to do this. I can feel a path calling back to me, back down the years to my mother standing in Woolworths with me helping me choose my book, my weekly treat. Taking me to libraries, filling me with an urge to read. Every single English teacher I ever had who made me feel… special, even if I no longer remember all of their names. I remember how they make me feel. I remember the compulsion to write, to draw, to read, long buried to make a living and silently, slowly, bury myself.
And so, today, I used the laptop for something other than storing my million photographs and social networking. I opened OmmWriter. I wrote something. It’s schlocky, it’s basic. It’s a gift to the 5 children born at the same time as my daughter from the NCT group. But it was a start. I’m deliriously happy.
People look at me in horror when they hear about the struggle from the trenches of working full time with a child. But, having my daughter, and now reading with her and writing about our journey using this blog has given me back the truth of myself.
My husband, who knows a bit about writing and creativity, what with being a musician and having a fair output of his own, was right.
For Howard. The most patient, loving, wise person I know. The gift of my life. My lottery win. Thank you. I love you
For English teachers everywhere. Sod ticking the boxes.