THESE ARE THE BEST YEARS OF MY LIFE FOR I HAVE HOPE...Anais Nin
It began when I was about eight years old, this urge to write things down-- my hopes, dreams, fantasies. Always a curious, imaginative child, I was encouraged to enter this land of make-believe and story-telling by my parents. My earliest memoires include stories my Mom or Dad would tell or read to me.
"Tell me about when you were little," I would beg at bedtime. Or, "Tell me about when I was little."
I started writing my story ideas down when I was in grade school Mostly I wrote plays, fairy tales to entertain my playmates or plays abou the war to present in my classroom at school. It was during WWII and almost everyone then, including myself, had a parent or relative serving overseas. There wasn't TV then, just the occasional news reel at the movies. And always, every day, the BBC news broadcast coming over the airwaves like sound traveling under-water.
Dressing up in costumes whether for plays or neighbourhood parades was also a favourite pasttime of mine. My Mom was a good sport and an accomplished seamstress and always made the costumes to order. I lived much of my childhood in a fantasy world. And from an early age I read voraciously, carrying piles of books home from the library, or often walking to and from school, one foot at the edge of the sidewalk, my nose in a book. I ruined my eyes reading by the dim hall light at night long after I was supposed to be sleeping.
After the war, when my family moved (by train) across Canada to the west Coast, the historical fiction writer in me was born. First I wrote pioneer stories. Then I discovered the world of Biblical times (my Dad was a pastor). I still have a box of these old manuscripts, written in lined scribblers with my own illustrations, or typed on my very first typewriter, an old Underwood my folks bought me for my 16th birthday. That was the year I was introduced to a character named Alexander the Great. And getting to know him has taken me on some of the best adventures of my life.
I knew from an early age I wanted to be a writer more than anything else. For a time I had aspirations of becoming a crime reporter. My first job from highschool was in the editorial department of a city newspaper where I began an apprenticeship as a copy runner. Later (because the City Editor refused to have an 18 year old girl working on the news desk takin gpolice calls, I trasferred to the new library ("the Morgue," they called it, where they kept 'dead' stories.) I had the job of filing Bios and taking charge of the "crime" files which turned into a fascinating task as I got to run errands to the police station, collecting the police rap sheets from which I'd transfer info into my card-index files about the various criminals around town. This included sorting out the who's who of the local gangs running the drug trade. Exciting stuff for a kid like me with an insatiable curiosity for knowing what was going on in the world outside my fairly strict family life.
I worked for the newspaper until my marriage took me away to another part of the country where I languished in suburbia, raised two kids, pretty well quit writing, and survived a dysfunctional relationship. For awhile everything turned into a disaster because of my husband's alcoholism. We moved back to the Coast, lost the house, and I had to go to work to support my kids. I tried, but couldn't get back into the newspaper job again. What to do? I became an Early Childhood Educator, working in daycares looking after other people's kids.
But I never gave up my desire to become a full-time writer, and in spite of the set-backs and discouragements
I was determined to realize my dream. So I went to night school and took some creative writing course and once again, I began to write. Now, all this time later, I am living the writer's life.
How I did it, and what adventures happened along the way is what I want to write in my journal. "LIVING THE WRITER'S LIFE".
Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back: a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country...Anais Nin