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Seeds of Writing

February 24, 2010

Earlier this week, Jodi posed the question regarding ones roots in writing. Its been a constant shame for me within writing forums and groups to admit that I had never planned or dreamt of being a writer growing up, nor later on as careers came and went on my search for truth.

I’ve always maintained it was something that was waved at me and I kind of fell into about three years ago.  However, looking back, the seeds were sown early on and I have been writing most of my life; but have never claimed or honoured  it.

Growing up in the bush, and eldest of a tribe of children, daughter to good parents; who wished the best for me, but never understood how I cracked out of the mould so early; I was the first in my family to not only go to year twelve (the highest level in grade school) but had the audacity to ‘waste’ my entrance into university on an arts degree in drama.

An avid reader, I consumed all the books our traveling library bus would bring around once a month. Edgar Rice Burrows series “Tarzan” remains a treasured set of books, read so many times they have begun to fall apart.  As with most young girls, diaries were the mainstay of my writing; but mine were filled with an alternate life, seeped in history and fantasy with characters so real it was a shock to be pulled back into the mundane existence of milking cows and harvesting vegetables before shooting off to school.

I’d dreamed of becoming an archeologist, having sucked up the myths, legends and details about ancient civilisations and cultures. My poor suffering parents humoured me for years, but crushed my dreams when I was 13 telling me that everything had been dug up and there was nothing else to discover; so best I get back to reality and plans (i.e marry a farmer and have a horde of children)

I had family spread around the country, so was encouraged to keep in touch with letters as I grew up. Before the event of blogging and emails, sharing news and photos took form of my monthly newsletter. In the 5 years I lived in the UK, I diligently sent around 50 letters every fortnight on my adventures on motorcycle, hiking and backpacking around Europe. Many of my audience urged me to put it together in book form as in their words, I made history come alive with my stories and insights into the places I visited and the enthusiasm I had whilst there.  An active community member – regardless to where I lived, I inevitably became involved with writing the clubs newsletters or updates and marketing material. So looking back, I guess, writing has always been part of my life, I’d just not noticed.

A sympathetic English teacher encouraged me to audition for the school play; of which I gained lead role and my love of the theatre and acting was born. I maintain my passion for character, the detail and intricacies which set a living person apart from a generalised or stock standard cliche was birthed from my studies within the theatre. For me, in writing or in acting, the character carries the action, the life of any plot. Its true that I hear and see my characters as real beings. However, its in the same vein that when I sketch, I wait for the image to present itself on the page, and all I need to do is to trace around it.

There have been numerous writers and musicians who claim that they are simply ‘translators who take the notes’.  However, I swing between believing that and what novelist, E.L. Doctorow once said –  ”Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” Writing now shapes my day. Every conversation I have or overhear, every news story, photograph or image I take in, provides fodder for the next article or story. In honouring my roots, it allows me the escapism to explore lost civilisations, to question humanity and challenge societal ideals.

Image from a private collection – its me at 15 on a rocky outcrop on the family property.

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Annie Evett is feeling a bit pensive this week. For more insights into how growing up in the Aussie Bush shaped me as a writer –click here. STILL excited to have 2 short stories published. Free downloads so check out  Cats with Thumbs and Deadly Love be Mine….Follow Annie here on Twitter and start your escape into her world  here

3 Comments
  1. February 24, 2010 12:11 am

    “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” I have never thought of that but I can totally see it. I have these daydreams and picture stories in my head, when I tell my husband or my mom, they look at me like I’m crazy. I guess maybe I do have schizophrenia, LOL.

  2. February 24, 2010 7:26 am

    Liz, I used to create my own music videos in my head when I was a teenager. Now I use the music and put those visuals down on paper.

    And I definitely concur with Me Doctorow – I hear voices, more than see images … and feel as though I am in the characters skin (less often than the voices) – without writing I probably would go mad with all that building up like a pressure cooker.

    Annie – I wrote voraciously as a teenager – diaries, letters (which were epic) and after some pretty hideous stuff happened, a series of stories which even now are too painful to read, as I tried to process and sort through – make sense of my world.

    The darkest days of my life have been the ones when there was no writing… or creative outlet. It felt as though part of myself was dying – or had actually died.
    When I moved out of that period of my life, the first thing on my list was to take a creative writing class. It was a slow climb back…

  3. February 25, 2010 10:58 am

    Hi Annie
    another thing in common despite our very divergent backgrounds in childhood – me on my island, you in the Australian bush – my first, passionate ambition was also to be an archaeologist! But it was ignored and scoffed at: so I became a vicarious archaeologist and social anthropologist through my real life in childhood – reading and writing. Thank you for this great post. If you or your readers want to read about the shaping influences on another writer’s life ( we seem to have a cross-fertilising theme going on here! ) check out this link: http://anne-whitaker.com/articles/

    All good wishes

    Anne W

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