Last week I was tagged by Berni Stevens to take part in the Lovely Blog Hop. Normally I’m not very good at participating in blog hops. They involve remembering to post on an agreed day and only talking about the subject at hand, neither of which are my special blogging skills. In this case though, the blog hop is officially Lovely, and everyone likes Loveliness, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. It’s all about the Lovely things that have made me the person, and the writer, I am now. Aw.
So here are my thoughts on a number of areas of potential Loveliness.
Now my first clear memory is very specific, but not particularly lovely. It’s of a family holiday in Oban where it rained a lot and, having walked boldly into town, my mum and dad decided to get a taxi back to our accommodation because of the downpour. I have a very distinct memory of the taxi driver being a middle-aged slightly balding ginger man – picture a Scottish Neil Kinnock with a taxi. So there you go – not a particularly lovely or unlovely memory, but true so it’ll have to do.
An excellent heading for loveliness. I don’t remember ever not loving reading. Right from nursery school when that cat first sat on the mat, I think I was hooked. Although looking back now, the story of the cat lacks narrative drive. Why is it sitting on the mat? What impact does the mat have on the cat’s character arc? These things are never properly explored.
From then on I loved Winnie-the-Pooh, and later Enid Blyton – I always loved her boarding school books, whereas my sister was addicted to the ones where groups of small children catch smugglers. Then it was Sweet Valley High and Terry Pratchett, and then all the other books. All of them. So many books. So little time. Feels overwhelmed. Crawls back under duvet (with a book).
The two formative libraries of my childhood were The Main Library in town where you would go with Mummy, and Scalby Library which my sister and I were allowed to go to on our own because it was nearer, and also, on the way to Grandma’s house. The Main Library had a children’s section that I remember as being massive. It almost certainly wasn’t. I suspect it was just a fairly normal sized room, but as Terry Pratchett fans know, books distort space and time, so that was probably what made it seem bigger.
Scalby Library was mainly notable for not having a public toilet, which for children who’ve walked there without adult supervision, could turn out to be problematic. On one occasion my sister, who was about 16 at the time, desperately needed to pee and persuaded the staff to let her go to their toilet by claiming that her little sister needed to go and might wet herself. I was 11. I did not need to go. This was most unscrupulous behaviour.
What’s your passion?
Writing (covered below). And reading (covered above). And education (covered below). And baking (not covered anywhere else, but it is an excellent way to achieve cake and so is therefore very lovely).
I love learning. Knowing more stuff is always excellent, and realising how little you know at the moment is excellent too, because it encourages humility and listening to other people, both of which are very very Lovely Things.
I think I’ve always loved learning, but I didn’t always love school. Secondary school, in particular, was fairly horrible, but I adored university so much that I went back and did an MA, and then a second BA, and then a teaching qualification. If tuition fees weren’t so prohibitively high I’d do another degree in a heartbeat. I fancy Law. Or maybe Politics. Or PPE. Or…
My earliest memory of writing was deciding, with a friend from school, that we were going to write, and star in, a satirical play about two rebellious schoolgirls who join a children’s choir. I definitely remember that we thought this play was going to be hilarious and would, almost certainly, change the world. We were about 10, and I don’t think we got past arguing over names for our characters.
So there you go – the important writing skills of a) having an idea and b) getting hung up on some tiny detail of the idea and never actually writing any words, were developed at a young age and have served me well ever since.
And that’s my Lovely Blog Hop Blogpost. Next week historical author Heather King will be taking up the baton on her own site and sharing her lovely thoughts and memories about what made her the writer she is today. You can also come back to this very blog right here next week to catch up on my 52 Weeks:52 Books progress with my update for March.