Friday, 9 August 2013

Where my journey as a writer first began...

Firstly, I have some news. Those of you who know me, are you sitting down? Good.

Wait for it. Drumroll please….actually, the drumroll is overkill. Kill the drumroll.

The news is that I’ve started rollerblading for fitness. That said, I’m 4 days into, but that’s 2 and a half days longer than any other exercise program/regime/thing I’ve done (possibly because most of those involved waking up early and I am NOT a morning person).

I have rollerbladed before, quite a lot, but that was probably back before I started high school. Still, I haven’t fallen yet and I’m pretty good at the basic stuff. I can turn without falling (somewhat) and break quite effectively.

Writing at my primary school was mostly done in recount form (as in, “who, what, when, where, why, how”, with an introduction, series of events, and conclusion brought in later) and though I appreciate that this set me up well for later in my schooling years, I do regret that I didn’t discover creative writing earlier.

The problem with recounts was that they had to be factual and I never really did anything worth recounting because I was always meant to be cleaning my room and never did. So recounts and I did not get along.

In my first couple of years of primary school, we did read a lot of poetry, but that was nursery-rhyme type poetry, the stuff designed to help kids learn to read.

The first time I got to dabble in poetry was with a relief teacher during my first or second year. I’m not sure what the instructions were but I ended up writing an acrostic poem. My cat had just died and down the side of the page I wrote “WHEN SILKY THE CAT GOT HIT”. Maybe there’s a reason we stuck to factual writing.

The teacher loved it and submitted it to The School Journal, who rejected it on account of not having enough space. Fair enough. Never mind it was written by a 5/6 year old who had little idea of what an acrostic poem should look like.

The poem has long since been lost, which is a shame as I’m sure it would have been hilarious. I have no idea how or why, but I do remember the ILKY (from SILKY) lines though.

So, without further ado, here is a small slice of what is possibly the first poem I ever wrote

It isn’t obvious, isn’t to me,
Likely not to
You or me

For that to make even the slightest bit of sense, bear in mind I was talking about my cat getting hit by a car, and was five or six. I also clearly had no idea of my own mortality.

But the teacher who open the door to a world where words could be creative was Mrs Anstey, who taught me when I was year 5 or 6 (9 or 10 years old), and who also introduced me to the book Holes, by Louis Sachar, among other things.

She allowed us to play with words, introduced us to (slightly) more grown up poetry and allowed us to explore the feelings and thoughts it evoked. There was a beautiful one about autumn and the leaves which I can’t quite remember, and one about being a Marrog from Mars, but my favourite by far, the one that has stuck with me, is The Wendigo by Ogden Nash.

The Wendigo,
The Wendigo!
Its eyes are ice and indigo!
Its blood is rank and yellowish!
Its voice is hoarse and bellowish!
Its tentacles are slithery,
And scummy,
Its lips are hungry blubbery,
And smacky,

The Wendigo,
The Wendigo!
I saw it just a friend ago!
Last night it lurked in Canada;
Tonight, on your veranada!
As you are lolling hammockwise
It contemplates you stomachwise.
You loll,
It contemplates,
It lollops.
The rest is merely gulps and gollops.

I hope I’m not breaking too many copyright laws here.
I just love the imagery and the fact that he rhymed something with the word ‘indigo’. This is such an action based, physical poem, but so whimsical and descriptive as well. And fun.

The voice in my head still reads it with the same passion and intensity as Mrs Anstey did all those years ago. Mrs Judy Anstey, if you ever read this, thank you. Thank you so much. You have no idea how much you have influenced my life. You taught me that words could be fun and open my eyes to the worlds they could create. I may not have shown it (I was a right terror back then), but I loved your classes. Thank you. Thank you. A million times thank you.

And on that note, with a thank you and a potential copyright infringement, I shall say adieu.

Love, Jess

No comments:

Post a Comment