It has been one of those weeks when my plans have been met with laughter by higher forces. While I aimed to achieve a lot more short story writing, I went from fiction writing, straight into reporting on the destruction of trees and foliage along local riverbanks. Not so funny.
As a teenager, I read Kate Adie’s autobiography and dreamed of becoming a war reporter. However, me being me, I didn’t fancy writing the births, deaths, and marriages before progressing up the ladder to ducking grenades and hiding behind tanks while speaking to the camera. I wanted to be writing front-page articles for The Times right away. Thankfully, none of this came to pass. Maturity brought the realisation that war is never something to get intentionally caught up in. Also,at that young age, I didn’t have confidence in my own abilities.
My Friday blog didn’t happen because I have spent the last two days staring in horror at two riverbanks I used to love so much. Developers have stripped one side of both riverbanks bare. This is where I used to pause to try to spot kingfishers or admire swans on the way to visit my mom. I’d take pictures of the rivers to show her, especially in the summer when it was all so green and the lily pads were so pretty. Now it is barren, getting ready for future human occupation.
Instead of writing my short stories, I ended up writing a series of outraged tweets, a blog, and emails to the council. I photographed and videotaped the destruction. It wasn’t until I grabbed a coffee with a friend yesterday morning that I realised I had actually become a reporter (after all these years) by default. Not for a newspaper, but for local people who care deeply about what is happening.
This isn’t to say the short stories haven’t been progressing nicely. Up until Thursday my routine stuck.
Next week (depending on higher forces), I will be back to work, creating imaginary characters rather than worrying about real ones. See you next Friday, she says, and someone up above laughs.
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The way it was, the river bank at Trowse before destruction of the right bank took place. This is the way I want to remember it.
Norfolk UK is my home, I live in Norwich by the River Wensum where everyday there is something different to see and learn.
I feel a big affinity with the river as I grew up in Cambridge, another great river city. My childhood and teens involved many walks along the Cam where we would watch 'The Bumps,' raft races and as we grew older we enjoyed adventures on our punting pub crawls.
Growing up in a multi cultural university city definitely influenced my reading choices, I am a big fan of Japanese fiction, love French literature and enjoy Shakespeare. As a young teen I entertained myself with Jilly Cooper and Dick Francis and then became quite obsessed with Henri Charriere's Papillon. At school all I cared about was English, Art and French, in that exact order. When I finished with school I went to live and work in Greece for a wonderful year before returning to study English Literature and Sociology. At this point I read more classics like the Wyf of Bath, Wuthering Heights and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man plus poets such as Wilfred Owen.
My first UK full time job was with Heffer's Paperbacks where I devoured several books at a time, excited by the fact I could borrow what I liked. Bizarrely for me I remember reading The Zurich Axioms, I have no interest in the stock markets but it had me gripped. I can't remember why I picked it up but I have never forgotten it. Heffers introduced me to so many authors, via their books and sometimes in person. It was here I learned about all the genres, it fascinated me that science fiction and horror were so popular, I tried reading it all.
Aside from writing letters, it didn't really ever occur to me to write anything myself for many years as I worked my way through a variety of interesting and varied jobs. Then on a visit to the London Aquarium I became struck by an idea so powerful I sat down and wrote my first novel. It went nowhere as really I wrote it because I wanted to. I wrote another novel and again, didn't have the persistance or determination to take it further, I simply enjoyed the process of writing and my characters.
Then years later another idea struck me and during a severe bout of Pleurisy where I couldn't do anything physical for months, I wrote the Eight of Swords and The Putsi. This time I published them as ebooks and they became pretty popular. When I fully recovered, I had to concentrate on my business and looking after my mother who has various health issues and the writing went adrift again for many years until 2020 when the Coronavirus pandemic hit the world.
March 2020 I moved to my apartment alongside the Wensum to live alone for the first time ever. During the first lockdown I began to write a diary and then the idea for a new set of short stories came to me and in February 2021 they will be published. The Covid-19 Pandemic is not simply a scary virus, it is a historical time and here we are trying to live through it. To many it will feel like a punishment but to me as a writer, in some ways, it came as a gift.
Please stay as safe and as well as you can. I hope to entertain you with my stories as we all try to get through this together, even though we are apart.
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