For me, writing has always been a way to escape the world and decompress. When I was a child I used to write short stories a lot, the characters always based on my closest friends or the ideal best friend that I conjured up in my imagination. Their names were always what I imagined I would name my own children one day in the far away future of being a grown up. I still have one of the stories I wrote in primary school, somewhere around grade four or five, about a girl who desperately wanted a pet but wasn’t allowed, so she adopted a rock as her pet. It’s stored away in a box of my writing, written in blue pen in my childhood scrawl.
I remember one time when I was away on holidays at the Sunshine Coast with my auntie. I had woken up super early one day and watched the sun rising for the first time ever. I was mesmerized with the changing colours of the sky as the sun slowly peeked over the horizon then rapidly revealed more of itself as it rose in the sky. I don’t remember the exact words I wrote, but I do remember that I likened the rising sun to a piece of golden toast rising from the toaster. When my auntie woke up I showed her what I had written and I can recall how much she loved the way I described the sun. She asked me if she could hold onto the story and type it up for me when we got home so I could keep it and I was stoked that she thought it was worthy of being typed. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way the piece of paper was misplaced and never did get typed up, but I remember the day so vividly.
When I was about seven or eight my Nana gave me an old typewriter that had belonged to that same auntie. She had upgraded to an electric one years before, so had no use for the old one anymore. That typewriter was my most cherished possession for so many years of my life and in the memory banks of my mind I can picture myself sitting on the carpet in the lounge room at home, bent over that heavy typewriter and punching away at the keys. They were heavy and you had to hit them hard to make the little arm jump up and punch the requested letter onto the blank paper, and every time my finger missed the key slightly it would jam in between two of the keys. Damn, did that hurt! I very quickly learned to have a good aim and made sure my fingers didn’t miss. In no time at all I was touch typing on that clangy old typewriter, having memorised where every single letter, number and character was located on the keyboard. By the time I got to high school and took typing classes I was leaps and bounds ahead of all my classmates, who had to start from scratch and learn where all the keys were. I was bored out of my tree for the first term of grade eight as everyone else familiarised themselves with the keyboard layout and was super excited in term two when we started the more challenging activities of touch-typing as the teacher read a passage aloud to us.
Through my teenage years I was constantly writing. Stories, songs and especially, poetry. I had a group of great friends who always had my back but I wasn’t much of a social butterfly in those days. People who know me now, but didn’t know me then, never believe that I was actually once very shy. I was the girl who sat quietly in class, only opening up and coming alive when my closest friends were in the same classes as me and I could relax and feel comfortable. My favourite teachers, usually the ones who taught me English, and also my German teacher, got to see a glimpse of the hidden me as I thrived in my favourite world of the written word – except for Shakespeare. I never could quite get the hang of his work. I loved when the topic in English was creative writing of any sort. My love affair with words would emerge and I would have my head buried in the book, my hand cramping up from writing so much. In grade nine I was introduced to poetry writing and I took that skill and ran with it. I have books at home, filled with poems I wrote all through my teen years and well into my twenties. Being that shy girl around others, I was never able to fully express myself, especially when it came to matters of the heart. If I had a crush l I usually kept it to myself, so afraid of rejection that I would never tell the boy in question that I liked him. That’s where poetry helped me. My broken heart would pour out line after line about my feelings, helping me express how I was feeling or helping me mend. Mind you, the object of my affections never saw what I wrote for them. I’d occasionally share them with one or two of my closest friends, the ones I knew wouldn’t mock me for what I felt, then the words would be tucked away inside my poem diaries. To this day the crushes of my teenage years still don’t know how they inspired me to write sonnets of love and pour my heart out to them. One day I might share some of my poetry here – all names changes to protect the naïve and unknowing of course.