I loved stories when I was a kid. More than toys and telly. My favourite moment was when Daddy would come in at bedtime, switch on my flower fairy nightlight and read to me.
I had a very rich imaginary life as a child and disappeared to many different magical realms. I made flower water potions in the garden and frolicked with the nature spirits. I wrote little stories and once a very long one about a girl who had to go to a boardings school where all her friends were nice. As opposed to my reality where I was bullied and picked on at school.
I studied literature at uni and lost myself in the poetic world of Goethe or the farcical one of Moliere.
And then it all stopped. I fell into corporate life and my creative flow was stemmed. My job was supposedly an arts one. We talked about 'creative' but it was far from the fruits of my wild imagination. It was slogans and clever puns. Anything out of the ordinary was spurned on - that's too clever or too esoteric.
It slowly eroded me. I felt empty at work and soon outside of work. After 15 years I checked out - or more specifically I was checked out by the big global powers that be.
I knew something else was in store for me.
They say if you don't follow your true passion it will find a way of following you. Buddhists believe everyone has a dharma. If you don't succumb to it you will not reach fulfillment.
I had been spat out of a job and a marriage and re-directed to a life in France. There I found my soulmate but career wise I was back to zero. I had to reconstruct my life in a foreign culture away from safe confines of family. It was the biggest blessing. I was freed up to do whatever I wanted to. At first that freedom was daunting. Too much choice meant indecision. Acting. Producing. My heart said, "write".
I wanted to write something substantial but I couldn't find the right hook or angle. Thanks to Arianna I was able to kickstart my writing through The HuffPost. I started out talking about my life in Paris from a BritChick perspective and then this snowballed to so many different areas. I wrote during my miscarriage. I have attacked thorny subjects like the Greek crisis. I have eulogised about true love.
My desire to write in fact coincided with some personal stuff I needed to deal with. In fact spitting out how I feel in black and white has been the greatest therapy. They say creation often is sparked from a past wound. At the times of deepest sorrow works of art have been produced. Death in Venice for the tragic Thomas Mann. Jackson Pollock who expressed his torture through his chaotic form.
In fact the biggest leap for me was when I came face to face with me. I was at a cafe in Deauville sitting in the sun and I saw the spitting image of me aged nine at a next door table. Buck teeth, thick glasses, frizzy hair in a plait and gypsy skirt. It was like seeing a ghost. It provoked a profound emotional reaction that has prompted me to write a novel.
Inspiration can come from many places but my experience is that it needs to be from somewhere deep within. Since then I can't stop writing. It is has turned into a fellow companion. I used to feel solitude in my writing before now I feel comforted and supported. It is me, myself and my writing.
Since beginning to write this blog I bumped into a friend who has a 30 page novel on the go. Yet because of his day job he never has the time for it. He seemed so restless - in two worlds but not belonging to either. He can't reconcile writing with working in his big fat day job. They cancel each other out somehow.
It is a tricky conundrum. It is a huge gamble to give up all for a creative pursuit, one may go unrewarded. But is it not better to have written and lost, than never to have written at all?