Tag Archive | writers

Easy Life?

Who said life was easy?

My mother died when I was a teenager. Many years have passed but I’m still learning about her, not from family or friends. When she married my father she distanced herself from the only friend she had and there is no family.

My mother is still a mystery to me. I discovered many things about her after her death, through letters and legal documents. Photos revealed a woman who was a far cry from the old-fashioned, prim and proper mother I knew.

Writing has helped me sort out my feelings and offered perspective. Friends never understand how I’ve forgiven her for the miserable childhood  I had.

As a mother I’ve struggled to understand the hows and the whys. I also missed the special bond most mothers and daughters have when a grandchild is born. Knowing this would not have happened didn’t lessen the void. Seeing friends with their mothers sometimes hurt.

Life is a long path of recognition and learning. Not so long ago, it finally dawned on me that more than having just grown up in difficult circumstances, my mother was suffering from a mental illness.

It all came clear to me that morning. Why did I never even suspect it? I was raised not to question things, but I did. I kept it all to myself. But my mother, well, I was so afraid of her. She was so strong, indomitable.

All the crazy spells, smiling and screaming the next minute, throwing a basin full of water at me in public, trashing my room in the middle of night while raving.

Still, I didn’t click. Because for years I lived with guilt, like many children who have suffered abuse, I thought it all my fault. I was conditioned to believe everything that happened was somehow my fault. It’s not easy shaking those labels.

Her son from a previous marriage is schizophrenic. I wasn’t told this until after she had died. It was not something my mother wanted known, another secret under the carpet. I didn’t even find out he was my half-brother until I was 12. He terrorized me through my childhood. I remember my mother taking him to this centre, it was only years later that I learned what this centre was.

So here I am, all these years later, proud mummy to my gorgeous children. Who said life was easy? But one thing is for sure, you learn something every day, and with love you cannot go wrong.

A special notebook

I still remember getting my first Moleskine. It was given to me by a special friend many years ago. As I looked at it, words were dancing on the pages, stories evolving.

As a child I loved stationery, books and notebooks were almost on an equal par.

I scribble all day long, I have notebooks strewn all over the place. Now, I just need one I could use in the shower or in the pool. Ideas come to me all the time, but especially so when I’m submerged by water.

Read what Victoria Patterson has to say about her Moleskine Journal:

http://www.pw.org/content/victoria_patterson_4

Most useful hashtags when writing

All writers jot ideas on everything they can lay their hands on. When inspiration strikes, you’ve got to write it down. Incidentally, writing it down helps me remember those precious ideas.

So what do you do with all the bits of paper, notebooks…you have accumulated. How do you reconcile them with the stories you write?

I’m not the most organised writer, but I do try. Worse, I often go from one project to the other.

Firstly, I have plastic folders labelled with the title of the book the ideas are destined to. But, most importantly, every time I write something down I use a hashtag.

An idea crops up about a steamy sex scene, #sex.

Another idea about a coffee shop scene, #coffee.

Wedding? #wedding

And so on…

That way, when I come back to the scene in question, I can check my notes and find it all neatly under one hashtag.

So thanks Twitter, sometimes inspiration strikes from the most unlikely place.

Write or read?

Write, or read?

Could you give up one or the other? Can you ever be a good writer but not read?

‘Would you rather give up writing for the rest of your life but have all the time you wanted for reading… or give up reading for the rest of your life but have all the time you want for writing?’

This is the question Rachelle Gardner asks in a recent post. http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/

To me reading and writing go together, no doubt. I cannot see myself giving one up for the other. I’m an avid reader, always has been. I was the child coming home weighed down by my findings at whichever library we lived near at the time. I learned foreign languages through my need to read. I’d pick up whatever I could lay my hands on to satisfy this need.

My children are the same. I read to them the moment I was born. I got funny looks at a time when it was not yet trendy. The result is a house full of books, our cars too. The smallest of journeys is spent with a nose in a book. They read at the table while eating if we let them. My children are bilingual as a result, my daughter has better spelling than French children her age and even older ones. OK, OK, stop bragging, I hear you.

And writing? At school, I hated the constraints imposed by teachers. Write like this, don’t deviate. I went to schools where teachers did not encourage creativity. I was the child who would write and rewrite…changing details until the very last minute.

Then I went to university. I had fantastic teachers there, ones who recognised and encouraged creativity. Life has its ups and downs, some of them delaying me for a while, but deep down I never stopped. The stories are in my head. I used to think I was slightly mad, or worse. Was I normal? What is normal anyway?

These stories have to come out eventually. I still read as I write. I feel torn at times, wanting to finish a book but characters calling me to get on with the story I’m writing. Lucky for me I’m a fast reader and a furious writer. Once the story starts forming in my head, I’m compelled to write it, so hard to stop. So I do amidst the chaos in my life, little blonde heads demanding attention…

How it all began

 

A song, a flash from the past

 

She hears them and she doesn’t, locked in a private corner of her past. A painful memory she’s been unwilling to share. But for now she isn’t fearful or sad, she’s mystified, lost in the beauty, the magic atmosphere. She doesn’t understand what she sees. It has familiar connotations but it makes no sense.

 

Twenty odd years have passed, how could it be? He looks so young, so beautiful, but the exotic setting? What is this?

 

His voice wraps her up and transports her back. Memories emerge and float, and she remembers. She’s a fighter, always has been. The little girl she once was kicks her from the inside, the one who refused to give in.

 

She doesn’t know it yet, but the nightmare is shifting away. For the last few months she has merely survived, now it’s time to live again. She’s alive and fighting. A new energy jolts her, she doesn’t even realise she’s pirouetting around the conservatory.

 

Lost in your time, based in Paris, out now.

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