Growing up, I loved the stories my mom would read to me and eventually when I could read myself, I would lose myself in the worlds that were created by the likes of Roald Dahl. Don’t ask me how old I was or any such silly thing, but it was from really young. I remember her fondly telling friends and family the story of how I liked books and stories from young and was a regular at the library. Then she’d say that when she took me to a bookstore for the first time to get a book, I couldn’t grasp the concept of buying only one book. I can’t remember what book I got, but it would be the first of many, many books that I would own. I have to thank my mom for getting me hooked on the written word.
I never showed much interest in writing anything until my early high school years at Queens College. There I met Mr… *checks high school year book*… Mr Cleary, my high school English teacher (Standard 8 I think), who somehow ignited a spark of creativity in me and I began to explore writing. My one school project involved writing a short story and I wrote one about a post-nuclear world. It was my first work (about 50 pages, but it may just be my memory exaggerating a bit though.) I remember lending it out for people to read, since I got a 80+% (possibility of memory exaggeration again) which I was pretty proud of and I just never got it back, which is a bit upsetting.
I was also in detention (headmaster’s detention *sigh*) a LOT that year, oh how many grey hairs did I give Mr. Harker (sorry Sir! 🙂 ), I admit that I was a completely naughty shit! During these long afternoons spent in an empty classroom, my mind wandered a hell of a lot. Since my homework only took an hour or two at most, the rest of the detention (yes it was the whole afternoon) and night homework sessions (can’t recall what they’re called now :/) left me with a lot of free time, and I had to make it look like I was doing something. I wrote a lot of stories and poetry, but besides my short story, never shared any of it. I lost those stories, poetry, etc years ago and kinda regret it now, because some of best writing (memory exaggeration alert!) was during this year.
The next year we moved to Port Elizabeth and I somehow felt the need to try be one of the cool and/or popular kids. Well that didn’t work out at all since I kinda realised the cool/popular kids were pretty screwed up people and soon I just settled into my old self again, I became my geeky self again and met some of my awesome friends (Alex, Stephen, Gareth, Craig, etc, you know who you all are :P)
I didn’t get back into my writing though. My creativity had buried itself pretty deep. It wasn’t until I started working, that my creativity started to show itself again. Slowly, very slowly. During my time as an armed response officer, I had plenty of time during night shifts where I would sit at my stand-off point, just waiting for the next alarm activation, burglary or worse to happen. It was during these long quiet nights that I would start reading regularly again; I was reading about 10 books a week at this stage.
When my dad passed away 5 years ago, I had feelings and emotions that I was holding in. I showed the world a brave, calm face, but inside my head was a disaster area. I started writing a bit again to get it all out. Nothing major, just the equivalent of doodling. It got me through though. Then I got promoted to Area Manager and I never had the time to write and my creativity dug itself a shallow grave this time round.
When I transferred to IT a few years later, I met my “boss”, Tyrone, and when he met his current fiancé, Nadine, little did I know that my creativity would start digging it’s way out eventually. Nadine started something called The Poetry Project and asked for poetry to be submitted, which is matched up with a photograph; a marriage of sorts between written and visual media – check it out here). I started writing some poetry and even submitted those I was willing to.
Through that I found out about a writers club, The Tequila Thursday Writers Club, which she was starting, and that leads us to the present.
So to answer simply, I write because it is who I am. It got me through my dad’s death, it kept me (in)sane in detention during school and is one of the ways I show the world who I am. I don’t know if I’m a good writer or if I’ll ever get published, but I do it because I enjoy it, the rest of the world be damned. My paranoia and self-esteem issues keep me from ever accepting compliments on things that I’ve written, although it does keep me writing, which is good enough I suppose.