When I was 7 I wanted to be a chef but most my recipes would include jelly beans so I think Gordon Ramsey was safe from competition there. When I was 8 I wanted to design wedding dresses but I soon realised I couldn’t sew, or draw and I only ever had one dress shape/style in mind. When I was 9 I found my calling, I was going to be a writer!
My mum would sneak me cheap little notebooks from work and I would spend my evenings and weekends following the cat around the house and the streets convinced he was up to no good and I was going to “get the scoop”. For over a year I would write pretend news articles and a book about a detective (called Claire Colon who had a little West Highland Terrier called Sally). I kept most of this to myself though because I didn’t think I was very good and when one of my brothers saw a page I’d written about the detective they mocked me mercilessly.
I loved writing and even though I am dyslexic I never really gave up on the idea of being a writer. For me, there is something incredibly therapeutic in getting my imagined worlds down onto a page even if it’s just making notes so I don’t forget an idea.
When I was in my last year of primary school (10/11 years old) one of the literacy tasks was to write a story, I was really in my element I started to write a story about 3 siblings who were trying to earn some extra summer holiday money by cleaning out their neighbours basement and stumbling across another world. I remember sitting in class and not hearing anyone around me or being aware of anything else that was going on, so absorbed was I in this world I was building. I handed it in thinking the teacher wouldn’t like it or worse she would mock me like my brother had. She loved it though, my spelling and grammar wasn’t brilliant (this is something I still struggle with today) but she thought the idea was wonderful and I’d written it as well as an adult author might have done! This was the first time I remember being told I could do something and even though I’d been writing silly bits and pieces for a year or so I will never forget this moment as the moment I knew what I wanted to do with my life!
This might have been a very small and insignificant moment in that teachers career but I’m so grateful for the courage it gave me and how it cemented my belief that this is my calling. Without sounding too cliche I know that some people search for a lifetime to figure out what it is they are meant to do and here I am lucky enough to know and be in a position to do something about it.