As mentioned in a previous post, writing is part of me, it’s a process that needs to be acted upon, but where does the initial urge actually come from? What makes a writer pick up a pen and direct their thoughts onto the page with more intent than simple note taking.
I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but my journey began before my teen years. I remember it vividly. The kernel of a story had lodged itself in my thoughts and the only way I could get rid of it, was to commit it to paper. This was before the days of keyboards, everything was done with pencil and paper. Words were woven together at your fingertips, sentences stitched in a line, paragraphs sewn like a patchwork quilt.
My first story was about a spider and a little girl. Carl Jung would no doubt have a field day with the psychology behind these two characters but in my pre-teen mind it was simple. I used my fear of spiders and the innocence of a little girl to create what appeared to be a simple advisory tale about how to avoid the dangers in life and it was all centered around the conversation between spider and child.
It wasn’t long. It certainly wasn’t going to win any awards, but it was out of my head and it was on paper. As any writer will tell you, once the story is ‘out there’, the weight lifts a little from your shoulders. It felt good. I’d created something from nothing.
But this wasn’t what prompted me to continue. I took the story to my Mother, who of course had no prior knowledge of the kernel that had been rattling around in my head for sometime. She read it and declared I hadn’t written it. She wasn’t being cruel, or dismissive, she just didn’t believe that I could have created this curious little story.
It was her response, her disbelief, that sparked a fire within me and it’s been burning ever since. It’s not that I wanted to prove her wrong, but more of a realisation that when writing we create such heartfelt emotions in the reader. We aren’t just putting words down on a piece of paper, one after the other, like bricks on a building site. We’re creating the whole, the house, the garden and its landscape. We’re architects of the imagination.
There began my intimate affair with writing. I’d spend hour upon hour hunched over an A4 lined pad, pencil scribbling the worlds down as fast as they came trampling through my thoughts. All because I knew that it’s not so much about the words, as it is about the soul, about how the writer can reach out and touch the very heart of a reader.
There’s something very beautiful in that.