Some of us only realised that we were writers when we were already fairly long in the tooth. Whatever that means – I don’t have long teeth – just checked to be sure. I spent most of the years before that wondering what cruel joke the universe had been playing on me by making me pop up on this rock without a clue as to my life’s purpose. I’ve spent my life doing really peculiar things that I tended not to talk about just in case people thought I was weirder than they already did. That’s a problem – having a writerly train of thought without being able to tell people that you are one. These oddities are accepted as normal from creative people, and I must say, that since I finally found that amazingly joyful realisation that my purpose on this go around was to be a scribbler, I absolutely realise that all my guilty secrets are just the norm for my trade.
Youthful me: What do you want to be when you grow up? Um……..
Scholastic me: Totally clued up on the solar system, constantly devouring peculiar information deemed odd by normal people, and spent weeks researching the lives of Darwin and Beethoven – instead of cramming for maths exams. If it didn’t interest me I didn’t do it.
Readerly me: Very particular about what I wanted to read – not keen on most school reading – except for when I ran out of books, then the backs of Harpic bottles and Cornflour boxes suddenly became riveting.
After school me: Have you decided what you want to be when you grow up yet? You’re running out of time here. Um…….
Alright then, whatever, just get a job.
I have to give myself credit for giving my all to everything I tried, even though it bored me senseless, leading to being easily distracted.
Bureau of useless information: Even though I had no clue why, I’ve always properly researched everything that has interested me, and collected a really wild stack of notes on all sorts of things. There’s not a lot in the universe that I don’t find fascinating. I couldn’t help myself, and I still find notes tucked away reminding myself to look up one weird thing or another. Now I get to grin about it, and not wonder why I hadn’t been dealt a full deck upstairs. No information is useless to a scribbler.
Stationery Monster: I’ve always loved anything to do with writing. Over the years I’ve bought thousands of various items of stationery, knowing that I had to have them – needed them! They mostly stayed empty – now they’re all full.
I want to be alone: Writers aren’t very appreciative of company when the muse is on a roll. Unfortunately, while this dark, sultry, moodiness is accepted, and sometimes encouraged in the creative, it is looked on as rude surliness in supposedly normal people, and not a good way to make friends and influence people.
Too much information: Writers soak up information like sponges. They stare boldy (also considered rude for normal people) at the interactions of strangers, peer over walls at their neighbours (ok – that could just be me), and feel irresistible urges to study the histories of anything from the detailed workings of septic toilets to the Kama Sutra. The things we research and find totally acceptable are generally thought of as odd in your normal homo sapiens.
For the scribbler who doesn’t know she’s a scribbler, this means you have no club to truly belong to.
Know it all: All that unconscious researching leads to you knowing a little about everything, and not being shy to share your opinions.
Shocking revelation: Then one day the universe realises that you’re just not going to figure it out, and dumps whole stories into your cranium.
Who me?: You just know that you can’t do it – you’ll be laughed right off the planet.
Explosion: Some small thing gets your hand moving, and out it starts coming.
I’m a writer!: There it is.
Welcome to the club!
Now you get to eat like a writer.
Being a little highly strung goes with the territory.
You get to share plot lines and advice with your riveted friends now.
You get to know more about the interweb than most teenagers as – mostly – a bonus.
You know exactly who and what you are now, and make sure that everyone else does too.