OR `My matchbox finally takes his bow.`
I knew my publisher would not allow such a long title, so I am beginning with it.
I called the last blog Cabbages and Kings and a Matchbox, because I mention a member of my family who could make a matchbox sound interesting. But he got removed. Left out. You will finally meet him at the end of this. But not yet…
The last blog ended with a hint at a story about my daughter, and something embarrassing which happened to her because we write weekly to each other. I said it involved an audience, a speaker, and a talk. For Cabbages and Kings is about an audience waiting for a speaker, to give them a talk. Well, my daughter was in an audience with one of her young daughters. And the talk was about Roald Dahl.
Apparently, the author wrote weekly to his mother, so the speaker asked if anyone there wrote to their mother every week, and if so to stand up. My daughter was in the front row. She would not have stood up had she been sitting further back and had noticed that nobody else had risen. Only her. So her little girl was mortified. Parents are embarrassing enough to their children at the best of times, aren’t they?
The letter writing began in her college days, when we were not living together. I met her when I could, as well as writing, but somehow I was always late. And I remember thinking, as I walked towards her, at least in that final meeting (Heaven`s Gate) I will be there first. Then I thought, supposing the mother isn’t?
And that was the beginning of Good Fairy Bad Fairy. It is in my collection of short stories, which is called Reasons.
In more recent times I studied for a Master`s Degree in Creative Writing. My tutor was interested in this story but wanted me to do something else with it. Find a different reason for a mother and daughter to be separated. And then find a reason for that reason. Which is why the story is called Reasons. The tutor was Paul Bailey and it was the most exciting writing experience of my life. I believe those two stories are our publisher`s favourites. (And Paul Bailey gave me a First Class mark for that piece of work.)
There are stories of mystery, fantasy, and the spooky. Psychological study and psychological horror. One science fiction and some funny. Many were written a long time ago, others very recently. I think my best are Roots, The Admirers and Stripes.
Stripes won a prize in the Writers` Forum.
When my letter writing daughter was a baby, I attended a creative writing class where I met Dame Jacqueline Wilson. She came to judge our class competition because she was a friend of our teacher, and we all lived in the same area. She gave me first prize for my story The Outing, said I was a born writer, and told me to write a novel. The story was about a fat and miserable little girl who felt out of things. The kind of character Jackie would like. I incorporated that character and story in the book I then wrote. It is called Neverland.
When I was studying for the Master`s Degree, one tutor saw some of my poetry and said she thought I was really a poet. It is true some of my stories are written in very poetic prose, and in themselves sometimes are almost a poem. I have written poetry since I was a teenager, and now I have a collection, called Windows.
Now, there was more to that period of separation from my daughter than just college. It was during a very harrowing time for me and my family. There are two pieces I have written about this experience.. One is called Twenty Years On, and the other Diary Entries Of Pain. These appear at the beginning of Windows. It was my publisher`s request. He said that Diary Of Pain is the best thing I have ever written.
Some of my favourite poems, or my best, I think are Toy Shop, Spider`s Web, Bogeyman, and If This Is A Woman. I think for me personally I am most fond of Child`s Piano Piece.
It is a real mixture I think. Some great or at least serious, others less so. And I was surprised that Mr Godleman published most of the poems I sent to him. But he said that my strength is in my range. Some I thought he would consider fit only for a woman`s magazine. Or for the words inside a greetings card…
One of them was just that. I wrote it in a birthday card to a son-in-law.
He who could make a matchbox sound interesting!