I have always been reasonably good at putting words together. My university essay success was primarily based on fifty percent knowledge and research and fifty percent good waffle.
My mother used to tell me that I should have been a writer or a journalist. Hell, she practically made me eat the dictionary when I was in school and made sure I went and looked up anything I didn’t understand rather than ‘be lazy’ and try to elicit the information out of her.
My old English teacher, Mrs Clarke, was another reason for my good grammatical grasp. I say ‘old’ because to a 15 year old, anyone over 30 years old was practically ancient. Mrs Clarke was a member of the blue-rinse set and was always impeccably groomed. She was no nonsense, no sympathy and no excuse for no homework but she was brilliant and she taught me a good deal about knowledge and waffle. If you were going put it down on paper, you did it with as much flair as you could muster, regardless of how much research you had done. Knowledge was a good thing but the written word was much more powerful when written well.
While mathematics was never my strongest point, I had a talent for telling a tall tale and tongue-twisting the truth a little. It didn’t take much effort to excel under Mrs Clarke’s watchful eye. This went very well until my third year of high school when I got a new squeaky-clean Teacher’s College graduate who knew it all. I can’t even remember her name now but I can remember her disbelief when I turned in a term assignment, a book full of short stories and poetry, when she tried to tell me that I couldn’t possibly have put such a thing together without some kind of copyright infringement.
This was about all my mother could stand, as she had seen me put this book together at the kitchen table in the last two nights before deadline. I was nothing if not a ‘last minute Larry’ when it came to essays but once I got into the ‘zone’ I did well. It didn’t take long to perpetrate a prose or two when I had nothing better to do with my time. Mum saw red when she saw the red derogatory scribble at the back of my book and made a beeline for the school. Sadly, I wasn’t there to witness the event but I did get a higher grading and transferred to a different English teacher posthaste.
The years have gone by and I had planned to have hit the big time by now but the work that it takes to put a book together, to plot, to plan and remember every detail takes a mammoth mental effort. I know, I have tried. I admire the J. K. Rowlings of the world that believe in themselves enough to spend years in the wilderness scratching away at their dream until it becomes something more tangible.
My writing, unfortunately, takes a backseat to my health and the mental clarity I lose because of it. I’m hoping for better days, however, while I make a living proofreading and putting together documents which is all good practice for any future meanderings I may take a moment or two to produce.