The Small Girl and I are, each in our own way, learning to write. We are both novices, the new girl in the class. We are both excited by the possibilities and daunted by the blurry-edged picture of how much we don’t know. Small Girl can’t even count to twenty-six, let alone write all the letters of the alphabet, but yet she has announced to herself and the world, ‘I can write’.
This is a picture of Husband and Small Girl looking very contented whilst Yours Truly appears dazed and confused over the shopping list. Said list includes carrots, lemons, eggs, Rooster potatoes and several varieties of hugs (O’s) and kisses (X’s).
Next is a shocking exposé on alien eggs and their surprising desire to disseminate hugs and kisses throughout the universe. Notice, she has grasped that we write from left to right and is very keen on full stops.
I’m following an on-line writing course called Start Writing Fiction at Futurelearn. I’ve been spending mornings sipping coffee and chatting to some friendly, wordy, book-loving people and not really doing my assignments. Hey, maybe I’m finally getting to be an Arts student (minus the wild parties and fringed handbags).
So far, I have three big problems with writing fiction:
I find the making-up part of writing stories extremely arduous and exhausting. I cannot lie convincingly, never could. Possibly, through years of managing anxiety, I’ve trained myself out of imagining ‘what if?’s.
I’m not good at imagining the world from someone else’s point of view. The central character, in every story I write, is essentially myself. (I’m nicer than that makes me sound, at least I hope I am)
I’m rubbish at describing people. I’ve been claiming congenital face-blindness (prosopagnosia, now there’s a great word) but Husband tells me that I just don’t look at people properly. Either way, I’m not good at describing physical attributes.
So, I can write you a story where nothing much happens, all the characters are emotional clones (of me), and you have no clue what any of them look like. Sounds riveting, right?
But, you will know how they (yes, that would be me) feels.
I would like to just quit. I could (should) make like a proper housewife and go bleach the toilets. Only now that I’ve started, I can’t seem to stop.
These words float around in my head and bug me until I put them down somewhere. Sometimes the words coalesce, of their own accord it seems, when I’m weeding or walking and even in my sleep. They fight to get out. Yeah, it’s weird. I’m weird.
I want to make my mark on the cave wall.
So, I’ll keep going on my writing course, sipping coffee and taking inspiration from people more talented than I.
Small Girl has it sussed. Her characters are well-drawn and mesmerising (those eyes!). You can’t knock her imagination (invasion of alien eggs?!). She knows what readers want; hugs, kisses and above all else, L.O.V.E., love.