I’ve been challenged to write my origin story to explain how I came to write my origin story.
Well, it all began when my parents died when I was a baby. I was sent from the orphanage to live with a woman who had eight children, including three sets of twins. She worked me hard and I was miserable. All I had to keep me going was my vivid imagination…. Hang on. Oh. No, that was Anne. Sorry.
That’s right, it was when I had to live with my family in a tiny room at the top of a house. We weren’t allowed to go out or to go to school and we had to be very quiet all the time. The only thing I could do was write in my diary…. Oh. No, that was Anne. A different one.
I loved to write. I would write plays for my sisters to put on for our mother. We didn’t have a lot of money and father was away at the war so it was my way of keeping everyone happy…. Oh. Nope. Jo.
Why does the phrase “origin story” automatically make you think of someone overcoming adversity to become who they are? Loss of parents (Batman), a long journey away from home (Superman), a mysterious upbringing (Spongebob Squarepants).
I had a happy childhood. I still have both my parents. We weren’t wealthy but we weren’t living on Struggle Street. So what’s my origin story as a writer?
I was shy. And quiet. And the written word was so much easier to use to express myself than a spoken one. It still is. (Oh, Lord, we thank Thee for the creation of email.) I read voraciously which fed an already active imagination. L. M. Montgomery, Arthur Ransome, C. S. Lewis, Gerald Durrell, Lewis Carroll, Enid Blyton. (But I was only interested in sailing and owning my own island. Never understood the attraction of climbing a magic tree to talk to a man with a saucepan on his head.)
Having inherited some of my mother’s childhood books and having three children of my own, there are now three generations of inspiration on my bookshelves.
The signs were there early. In the words of my Grade 1 teacher, “Excellent understanding of words, as shown in her creative ability”.
I found one of my earliest compositions:
“Once there was a moose taking a walk. When he met a beaver he said to the beaver that he better go tell his rabbit friend that there was a lizard after him. There were three giraffes having a nice lunch when a lion sprang out from the grass. He went to catch one of the giraffes, but they ran away. The lion went back to his wife and told her how the giraffes were too smart to catch for their lunch so his wife went to catch their lunch. After a while, she saw a rhino. She ran to get it for their lunch. But it ran away and bumped into a monkey and it landed in a tree. He couldn’t get down because there was a cobra snake down on the ground so he became an ants nest. The End.”
I must have been writing for the Daily Post Writing Challenge: ‘Name as many animals as you can in one story’.
But why do I continue to write? Maybe because it’s fun? I’m not sure why you’d do it if it wasn’t.
“Writing is the most fun you can have by yourself.” – Terry Pratchett
Writing lets me get things straight in my head, gives some order to the million and one ideas and thoughts swirling around in my brain and it makes me think I can change the world, one word at a time.
Do I feel a burning desire to be published? I used to, but thanks in part to this blog, it’s become less of an issue and I write to please myself. I write when I feel inspired, when I’m bored, when I have something to say, when I have nothing in particular to say.
I write because I always have and I always will.
This post was written in response to the Daily Post Writing Challenge: Writerly Reflections