I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. Call it a hunch, or maybe my calling.
When I was in primary school, teachers commended me for my creativity and writing skills (not so much the grammar – some things don’t change!). Unfortunately this was suffocated in high school and snuffed out in University when the Creative Writing Tutor killed my dream. From then on my creativity and ability to write only to return whenever I travelled to some exotic location. It became a vicious circle.
On completing Uni, I worked in customer service but the changing nature of people came to bother me. It’s like everyone became rude overnight, and so I started to act rude back to them! I then fell into team management because why wouldn’t I, as someone who loved helping and mentoring people? Ha I was so naive! And then I plunged head first into project management thinking it was what I was meant to do because I was good at it.
It’s funny how much your actual path in life deviated from your youthful ambitions. I’ve spent the last twenty or more years searching for a sign of what I was meant to do but never found the answer, to only realise that it was right in front of me all of the time – and that it involved my first dream – writing!
It is never too late to be what you might have been. – George Eliot
I still have most of the stories I wrote and illustrated in primary school, stored in a falling apart folio, crammed into a box of sentimental ‘stuff’ that I just cannot bring myself to throw out.
Looking back on the contents of the box, my illustrated short story called ‘Kalgoorlie and the Sad, Giant Tomato‘ jumps out. A school science experiment gone awry, Janine accidentally creates a living, friendly, giant mutant tomato. His name is Vincent and he talks (Vincent was one of the dogs I had as a kid whom my Dad gave away to our neighbour and later died of cancer). One day, Vincent (the Tomato) runs away and hides in one of the mines in Kalgoorlie (where I lived as a little-un). There are a few ‘citings’ by people and hysteria spreads, as accusations are thrown around about ‘a big red blob’ attacking miners (witnesses refer to ‘it’ as being a Russian weapon – funny how a 10-year-old can pick up on what was going on in the news at the time). Stereotypically, Vincent is just misunderstood (King Kong anybody?), and the story ends after a climax of helicopters, guns, army barricades, and tears. Vincent ends up shrinking back to his normal size – whilst remaining alive – with Janine and her best friends taking ‘turns of keeping the Tomato for a week each, at their houses…probably still doing it to this very day.’ I got an A+. The spelling and grammar were atrocious.
Then there was ‘Time Zone‘, a 13 page story written in running writing, broken down into chapters, and illustrated by moi. This one involved time travel, had loads of dialogue between characters, a romantic sub-plot, mermaids, action and suspense. I’m impressed – why can’t I create something like that now? My teacher commented ‘A very imaginative effort Janine. You have done well. More care with spelling would improve your effort. I’m impressed how you’ve maintained your story line so well. Great descriptions.’ I wrote this in 1989 – I was 12, and as you can see, yes…I still had bad spelling.
I also attempted to create a teen adventure series (at the same time I was obsessed with Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew). This ‘master-piece’ was created on an old type-writer – so I’ll blame the inability to cut and correct spelling on the machine itself, and not on my clear laziness…It was called ‘The Teens – The Night They Saved Daylight,’ and it was an adventure story with another romantic sub-plot (I’d graduated to a love triangle by now!), with the premise of a group of young teenagers saving the world from the ‘evil’ warlock, witch, and their ‘evil followers’ Gizmo and Gremlin. This must have been written off of the back of my two weeks worth of nightmares as a result of watching the movie ‘Gremlins‘, which contained a Gremlin called Gizmo. Although wasn’t Gizmo the nice one?
Of course, there are others.
There’s the collaborative efforts from primary school that I fought to keep. I didn’t play overly nice – tantrums and tears over who did the most work and who ‘deserved’ to keep it. I came out on top, of course. And then there’s the Uni years where I will not acknowledge any of my poor attempts in the creative writing department (apart from the fact that I kept a ‘consistent’ writing journal). I will never take another creative writing course as long as I live, as I found it stifling, and it succeeded in ensuring that I did not write for many years to come. Of course, after a bit of self-analysis, this can probably be blamed on my lack of confidence and inability to accept criticism at the time – so maybe ‘never’ was a bit harsh.
Which brings me to why I blog.
Blogging has been my way of rediscovering my love for writing, something I always told myself I was born to do but for one silly reason or another never did. Blogging has led me back to my calling, and I am incredibly thankful for that.
Blogging has led me back to my calling, and I am incredibly thankful for that.
What did you want to be when you were little?
Are you doing it now? (It’s never too late to start!)
Or have you found a new dream?
Looking for some writing prompts?
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