Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Tracing the Source

The six year old tells me she doesn't like writing.  She pulls a face in the morning sometimes, and complains that it's 'big writing' today. Is it just laziness?

I was thinking about when I first wanted to write.  I remember my Super Mum taking my sisters and I to the library for an author event.  I was five or six;  there was a grown-up lady alone in a room, with a table and some sheets of paper and pencils.  She seemed pleased to see us.  We made up a story together, and she scribed it for us.  With the patience of a saint, she allowed us to choose Will-o'-the-Wisp, our favourite TV character of the time, as our main character. Evil Edna figured highly, too.  She framed a story with a beginning, middle and end, guided our suggestions into something that vaguely resembled a real story, and autographed it for us. It wasn't quite as exciting as going to a farm park.

My first independent efforts were in a tiny spiral-bound notebook.  I was about seven, and fairy-tales were the clear inspiration, with wolves, goats and other marvellous elements included, along with the complete lack of money-sense that meant the wolf in one memorable tale stole ONE POUND!!!!! (sic).

It makes me smile to think of those early, staggering steps.  I wonder how to ignite Bean's passion;  she loves reading, but I want her to enjoy writing.  I want her to have better numeracy skills than her Mummy, as well.

Looking back, I'm grateful for that lonely author at the library, making us welcome and creating magic for us with someone else's characters.  I expect she was hoping we'd buy books, but this was in the bad old days when there was no money, and a pound really did seem a fortune.  Mum took us to the library because we couldn't afford books, but she believed that we couldn't afford not to have them. I might feel sorry for that author -  she gave much more than she received! But if I ever succeed with the writing dream, I hope I can make a difference in someone's life one day.  Surely that's worth more than a booksale.

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