Saturday, 14 September 2013

Confessions Of A Writer

One of my earliest memories of writing was returning to primary school after the summer holidays and writing in our brand new exercise books, which had been issued for the new school year, a story entitled "What I did on my holiday." I took the word holiday to mean going away on holiday and not holiday as in a break away from school for a few weeks. The problem for me was that I hadn't been away on holiday. It was likely that my mother and father couldn't afford it. There was no shame in that during the 50's as I there wasn't a lot of money around in those days and it was likely that most of my class didn't go away on holiday. Day trips on coaches were most people's experience of the seaside. So I made up a holiday.
I remembered a trip to Llandudno, the previous year when we went to the Happy Valley open air theatre and my sister Jean got up on stage and sang with the ventriloquist Peter Brough and his dummy Archie Andrews from the radio show Educating Archie. (Yes a ventriloquist did have his own radio show. There was no danger of anyone seeing his lips move.) Jean's hand had been the first to go up when Archie asked for a volunteer. I would never have had the nerve, and 60 years later my bravery in that department has not improved one iota, whilst my sister continues to enjoy a good warble in her amateur operatic society. Her Llandudno stage debut did not go unrewarded and she was given some sweets. I based my "What I did in my holiday" story on this only in my story it is me that goes on stage and my sister doesn't get a mention. In my story, I was the winner of a talent show and was given the Grand Prize of £100, enough money to buy a decent used car.
I shouldn't have flinched at each of the three question marks my teacher added to her comment in red ink ''Did you really ???" Even at my young tender age her sarcasm was not lost on me.
Today, I like to think that she didn't think badly of me for writing that story. A piece of fiction disguised as non-fiction, but a piece of imagination from someone with very little life experience. I hope she secretly liked it. I know I enjoyed writing it.