Hi all. Okay, this is going to be weird. No schedule, because so far as I know I’m on my own from here on out. If anybody else has read the ‘what’s going on here’ TCWT – or Not and wants to join in, please comment so we can find each other’s posts.
I’m still putting the picture up, because I’m still using John’s prompts. Today is August 13, 2015, and I’m using the prompt from October 2011: “What is the first thing you ever wrote of your own free will?”
That’s tricky: I actually don’t remember. I learned to write when I was four, and since then it’s basically been a case of have paper and pen, will write. And because of my dad’s job, there’s always been lots of paper around our house. And I spent most of the time from age four to about… now, actually… being told to put the book down and come back to the real world. After a while my parents realized I was quite capable of holding a book while doing chores, and switched to only insisting that if I must mark pages with my fingers, at least do it at the leading edge of the page and not the spine. Given the respective states of various eras of my library, I think this must have happened when I was around ten.
Okay, so what did Rosalie write when very small? Anything. Random words, letters, poems and stories of a sort, long and convoluted descriptions of places and things…
Pretty much all of it has been of my own free will – or at least, considerably over half of everything I’ve written. And I can’t go back and check, because I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that everything predating 2005 got lost in the last move but one.
The very first story I remember writing – at all – was thoroughly of my own free will. I was nine years old, and had been reading The Happy Prince and admiring the pictures of the starving author in the garret.
My story was called The MacArtises, it in no way lived up to its inspiration, and it was written on the back of sixteen sheets of old paperwork from my father’s office, which sheets I then glued together back to back to look as if I’d been using new paper. The story dealt with a London cabdriver of the 1800s, who for some obscure reason involving a coalmine (geography was not my strong suit) was rendered unable to work, causing his daughter Joal (I know, I know…) to start driving the cab instead. Of course it was a roaring success for her, though not for me, and the story ended happily with four highly colored and highly inexpert illustrations.
My main memory of this story was the actual writing of it, with a biro, no less (I usually wrote in pencil at that point), in our very cold spare room, wrapped in a crocheted afghan and feeling very grown up. And shortly afterwards discovering that my story was rotten and wanting to go away and die, or, alternatively, burn it. Instead I stapled its pages together, all the way around the edges. I think my mother has kept it despite this.
The next story (there may have been others in between – I don’t recall) was written at Arthur’s Pass, in late 2008. I had started writing Thunderbirds fanfiction (though I had never heard of fanfiction at the time) in a Winnie-the-Pooh notebook a well-meaning relative had given me – and I did manage to burn the manuscripts of those. That was my last bonfire, too: since then I’ve kept the lot, including all the story-starters I wrote as English-exam practice.
Thanks for reading. We’ll be back on September 13 with the next of the last.