Tuesday, January 17, 2012

If I had paid attention in high school... I probably wouldn't be a writer now

When I was in high school, I used to write stories to keep my mind occupied during lackluster classes. If I wasn't connecting with the subject, I'd look like I was writing notes when I was really writing a story. I did it for my own entertainment as much as I did it for my friends who, when they realised what I was up to, asked to read the latest installments. These stories all shared a similar vein - the isolation of the outcast and the feelings that could cause when pushed to extreme situations. It was high school and I was watching a lot of slasher/ horror movies with my friends so it's fair to say those stories were not light and cheerful in any way.
At university, I steered away from this past-time as I was being constantly challenged to think in innovative ways about subjects that had only been hinted at before in high school classrooms. Though, if I did have an idea that I knew I'd be exploring at a later time, I'd write it down immediately (and simultaneously disturbing the attention of the person next to me - who had been paying full attention to the lecturer).
It was while I was in a 'preparing for work' class as a jobseeker that the basis for my novella Ferris Wheel ran from my mind to my hands where it started typing it into a word document (which seemed to always minimise whenever my teacher would come to check on the work I'd completed). It started with something simple, watching a belly dancing performance, and the feelings that it brought to its observers.
It became clearer to me than any other time since that that I am a writer. I can't shut out my muse, tell her I'm taking a break for a little while, or I'm working on something else. It's still there, knocking at my door with a new list of ideas and genres to explore.
When I self-published Ferris Wheel, I did it as part of the NEIS program, a snippet of a wider creative business. It was my way of showing the world that I was there and that I had a story to tell.
Over the last year I've done things that I never thought I would. I've pushed myself to use the skills I have to benefit a wider audience than my peer group.
Quite simply, I made a change and I can't wait to do more

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