Frets Words is the new publishing and creative writing strand of the Frets Creative venture, overseen by Katy Lironi. There will be an updated blog and guest writers will be asked to contribute. There will be regular writing sparks/challenges set and, at present, the hope is to inspire others to form a vibrant online community of writers.
MY LIFE IN WRITING – SCHOOL DAYS
I used to write, meaning I used to write every day. I used to get stories and poems published in literary magazines on a fairly regular basis. But I would never have called myself a writer. I have only ever been someone who writes, sometimes for publication, sometimes not. Much as I am also someone who sings, as opposed to a singer. Sometimes for live performance, sometimes for record release, most often just to annoy my family. It is an important distinction I think, the invisible line between a writer and someone who writes and a singer and someone who sings.
Anyway…..I used to write every day, not quite from the day I learned to write, but certainly from about the age of 11 through until the time had children in my early 30s. Sometimes it was just a few lines, sometimes a song, a poem, a quote or a diary entry….as a child I invariably listed what I had for dinner and what I watched on TV, whether I’d washed my hair or not….as a teenager the focus was wholly on boys and who I fancied. I’m not vouching for any literary quality, as my teenage poems in school magazines attest, just that I wrote. Every day. It’s a good habit and one that I’d like to get back into. Why did I write every day? Why does anyone write? I was a shy child who loved books and was utterly rubbish at sports. I cried at every dancing class my mum took me to whenever the teacher raised her voice. Its family lore that my mum dragged me round every dance class in East Kilbride before giving in to defeat when it was blatant that I still couldn’t skip in a circle by age 5. At the P1 parents’ evening however, the teacher commented on my stories. She said I had imagination. My mum told me this and I think it stayed with me. I was good at something. I couldn’t skip, do handstands, run or do any sums at all, but I could write interesting stories. I was good at something. That’s definitely what got me writing in the first place.
When I was at high school in the 1980s, creative writing was a big part of the English curriculum. I did ok at school, leaving after 6th year with 4 Highers, but English was the only subject I cared about and excelled at. It was the only subject I was competitive about too, vying with the brainiest boy in the class for weekly essay marks. Specifically, it was the creative writing part of English that really stimulated me. I could take or leave the close reading and the report writing. I loved studying poems and novels and discovering the likes of Sylvia Plath and Harper Lee for the first time and studying their work, but it was the freedom and discipline of creating something within a strict time framework that honed my writing and got me used to writing every day.