The Road to Writing
Stories in the Sea
I was nurtured into writing by growing up on the coast in Swansea, South Wales: listening to stories in the sounds of the sea while lying in bed at night, and listening to my grandmother’s predictions for the family’s futures as she studied the tea-leaves in the day. It was years before I realised she was a simple spinner of tales and not clairvoyant at all. But the tales she told!
But Wales is also a land of song and at 17, whilst still in school, I joined a singing group which toured some of the toughest working men’s clubs in the Welsh valleys at weekends. This taught me an important lesson – never bore Welsh men in pubs – they throw things. However, if they like your singing, they join in with a perfect four-part harmony which is amazing.
Modelling and Music
A few years later, I did some modelling and then sang with a Jazz band called Big Jim Colosimo’s Kings of Concussion. (The leader had a strange sense of humour!)
It was formed by a motley collection of musicians who dressed like 1920s hoodlums and consisted of a deranged pianist who massacred pianos, a clarinet-playing plumber, an artist who could create life with three lines, a rebel of teachers and a tiny man with enormous lungs who blew a sousaphone in my ear as I sang.
Married in Malta
My chequered life continued apace and within the blink of an eye, (it seems) I was married and living in a villa in Malta.
This was an idyllic time; I learned to love the slow pace of Maltese life where people had time to talk to each other.
A Place of Ghosts
However, six years later, I was surrounded by barbed wire in a bleak army camp in Northern Germany. This was a definite low in my life. The camp was situated next to Belsen Concentration Camp. Once Belsen had been ‘liberated’, disease-ridden Jews had been billeted in the attics above the army quarters in which we lived. It was a place full of ghosts.
Luckily, a number of years later, I was living in Vienna and writing poems, stories and my first screenplay. Vienna is a magical place for someone with a vivid imagination.
Potholes and Publishing
However, the road you must travel along to become a good writer is full of potholes, especially for the left-handed. I was told by the nuns at my Convent school that I was slow, but only because they forced me to write with my right hand. This really screwed up my network of neurons so I started stammering. Fortunately, I was gradually allowed to revert to my left hand and the stammering stopped. Eventually, against all my school’s predictions, I got a number of degrees, lectured in English and then after a lot of hard work, my stories, poems and books were published.
I have been privileged to meet some great people in my writing classes and as I say to them, if I can do it, so can you. And many of them have!