A child who had nothing.... to complain about!
For God's sake give me some misery!
I think I've known from a very early age that I wanted to be a writer. As a child at primary school, I used to love writing poems about anything and everything.
"I have a little dog called Tim. He's my best friend, and I love him." Powerful stuff! Such a great ability to create rhyme, even at the age of 5. That was actually the first poem I ever wrote, and I thought I was going to become one of the greatest poets that ever lived.
Sadly, I was wrong, for although I had an interest and a desire to find fame and fortune through the pensive scribblings of my early years, the one thing I didn't have in my life was tragedy. I literally had nothing of any great interest to write about. They say that great literature stems from tragedy, that from the ashes of misery, the Phoenix of art rises to it's greatest heights. But I was happy, comfortable, living in a stress free, stable environment. How could I ever hope to be taken seriously?
So I started to invent my own misery. When Timmy, the dog, died, I instantly put pen to paper.
"Timmy, oh Timmy. My little dog is dead. A Sunblest Bakery delivery van has just run over his head. And I am inconsolable, as I lie here in my bed, and I can't even eat my supper, cause it's made with Sunblest bread!"
I liked it. A poem with tragedy, and irony, but to be honest, it was a complete fabrication. Timmy had, in fact, just collapsed of old age and quietly passed away in our front garden. But where is the drama in that?
Maybe I should have realised, at that tender age, that the future would lead me towards writing fiction and fantasy, but I wanted to do like it said in the 'good writing' help books, and write from experience. So I kept waiting and hoping that something horrible and note-worthy would happen in my mundane, happy life. The truth is, I was deprived of tragedy.
As I entered my teens, I thought perhaps I would find some real misery in the arena of failed romance, have my heart broken, be crushed by some uncaring, unfeeling bitch, who would win my heart and then trample on my dreams. Nope. It didn't happen. The worst thing that happened was when a girl I had been dating for two weeks told me that she was giving up dating to focus on her hockey career. We had only kissed a few times, and to be honest, it hadn't been that exciting. Still, it was all I had to work on, so I just embellished the story slightly to come up with this remarkable piece of poetry.
"The skies are cloudy, my romance is ended. My heart is broken, never to be mended. Some other lover will hold you in my place, and you never even let me get to second base. I showed you respect, didn't try to get handy, controlled my urges, even when I was randy. I can't pretend that I really don't care, that I never got to see you in your underwear. But at least now I know, that love is over-rated, it leaves with a broken heart, and totally frustrated!"
Ok.... don't shoot me! I was only 13.
I was growing up during the Punk era, and I think I actually resented my parents and my family for a while for being so 'normal'. There were people my age writing and singing about social and political awareness, about condemning the government, taking on the establishment, and doing crazy things like drinking alot, doing drugs, living in squats. It all seemed so glamorous and 'arty' to me.... but in truth, I was almost scared to get involved in such activities. God yes, I would love to have had the inspiration of such experiences to write about, but there was too much unpleasantness involved to actually think about becoming rebellious.
One of my English teachers in school seemed to think that I had a creative imagination and encouraged me to keep writing, despite my insistence that I had nothing worthwhile to say.
"Nonsense!" he told me, "I'm talking about creative writing. You don't need to suffer to succeed. You need to invent. Where you find a void, fill it with your own creativity. Such efforts are just as important as relating real-life experiences."
I didn't believe him, not at the time anyway. Then, as if to reinforce his opinion, something tragic happened. Not to me, but to someone I admired. There was a guy a year above me at school who wrote songs about his childhood. They were songs of woe and anguish, being, as he was, from a broken home, with a particularly violent father and a mother who escaped her reality through a dependency on alcohol. I kind of worshipped this guy, thinking how gifted he was to be able to translate such turmoil into such moving and compassionate songs. The year after he left school, he took his own life.
Now I know how fortunate I am to be an inventor.
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