Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Day 2

Day 2 of the Author Blog Challenge: How did you start writing?

Sometimes it seems as if I’ve always written and yet I know that isn’t so. There was the process of learning to read, to sound out words and decipher letters that seemed quite alien to my child mind. Then came the forming of those letters into words and onto the page, first in pencil, a stubby affair that lacked the discipline to go in the direction it was pointed in, often veering off on a tangent of its own. From these early efforts I progressed to composing short sentences, although the emphasis was always on the correct use of capital letters and punctuation rather than any literary merit. I suppose early education was the same for most of us in that era, when the rules of grammar were paramount and had to be understood before creativity had a chance to shine through and, even when it did, it was often stilted to a point of suffocation through the application of those very rules.

Apart from education requirements I began writing for myself, for the pure enjoyment of it, when I was about ten years old, recording people’s conversations and turning these into skits and writing plays for performance in our garage. Occasionally I wrote (bad) poetry, some of which I shared believing myself to be witty and my words worthy of attention. When I look back on these writings I can see there has always been a pull toward nonfiction and the need to record the truth as I saw it to be. Letter writing was another form of written expression, particularly prevalent after Christmas and birthdays when a new writing set begged to be used, although many of these beginnings never reached completion before I was off to the next idea, the next account that simply had to be written.

During these years it was poetry (somewhat improved) and letter writing that satisfied this creative part of me, often incorporating both in the one piece of writing and always threaded with my own perception of humour. If I couldn’t write something as a comic piece, no matter the subject, I didn’t persevere.

As my children became old enough to attend school, I added letters to teachers to my repertoire (I cringe now with the memory of some of these) in a form of passive aggressive entertainment I suppose. Some were appreciated and read aloud to the class, to the embarrassment of whichever child had been the bearer of the missive and to the entertainment of others. No matter what I wrote, there was always a personal enjoyment and satisfaction in winding words into sentences and the longer story.

Once I was back in the workforce, my writing world expanded into reports and case plans and the accurate recording of events, handwriting these in the scrawl of haste for the receptionist to type out and present in the required format. Court reports were my forte, and I revelled in the opportunities for creative licence with the facts presented, always ready to back the rhetoric with some across the bar sparring with the magistrate, always attune for his praise for the professionalism of my report. Heady stuff for someone of my limited formal education.

The introduction of computers in the 1980s allowed me to type my own reports, with instant editing and formatting - as well as saving the sanity of any typist/receptionist lost in the jumble of my scribbled thoughts and from this stories and poems began to emerge. Many of these are saved forever onto floppy discs I no longer have the technology to retrieve, locked in some kind of literary time capsule awaiting release.

The turning point in my writing came with a resumption of study in 1990 and the possibilities of expansion of nonfiction to include educative writings and papers. This encouraged me to think beyond the square and I began what would end up being a decade long journey in the study of Professional Writing and Editing, with regular refresher study in the field until 2012.

For the past twenty-five years I have been writing across genres and learning about writing, with short stories and poetry published in magazines and journals and several books published, as well as running writing workshops and mentoring other writers.

My life is about writing, learning and sharing the knowledge.

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For some reason I'm yet to fathom I'm unable to reply to comments left by others so thank you for dropping by and taking the time to read and comment. Merlene