No one can really say when they change from being a person who writes to a writer. I suppose we can go back to Infants school, proudly composing our first sentence on paper. But for me, my first story was in First Year at high School. I went to Fort Street Boys’ in Sydney way back in the sixties when dinosaurs still ruled the Earth. It was the yearly English exam. When I saw the question, I felt inspired to write about rain as a living thing. I came third out of 160 boys that year, largely due to that one story.
Years later, attending the U3A writing group in Cygnet I recreated that story as ‘Rainz’. An old man in a wheelchair, left outside on a country property when a storm comes. There’s little dialogue and the story was less than 1000 words. Also the man had no name. I guess I was entranced to do that from reading Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea. He was an ‘everyman’.
Rainz is in my short story collection. The Rain, The Park and Other Things, available on Amazon. I’m quite proud of that story written 20 years ago.
I owe a lot to my fellow writers there. I recall Moira Kirk. She and I had a similar dark and cheeky sense of humour in our writing. I learnt a lot there including humility. I thought I was good at English grammar having done university English and HSC (A level Latin). However, I was so wrong. Even now, I’m told off for using the passive too much in my writing. I don’t claim to be a good writer but I’m happy with my success and my imagination.
I love writing and creating characters, having great conversations with them as I delineate their wild adventures.
I didn’t sell my first story until ten years later in 2012. I wrote that at Cygnet. The Cool, Dark Place. My protagonist was a woman and most of my short stories and all of my novels have followed that trend. So my thanks to U3A in Cygnet. These days I’m trying to give a little back by anchoring a new writers group for U3A in Southport England but the memories of Cygnet are still there.
It’s 2023. I have five novels set for publication. One of them is Raindrop Girl. 60 years since that exam and 20 years since Rainz. Goes to show how beginnings shape our writing lives.
Meanwhile I’m proud to have eight of my large print novels available in Tassie libraries. Just look for Linford Romance or Alan C. Williams