I’m a ‘Yorkshire Lass’, born in Middlesbrough at the end of the second world war. I started reading before I went to school, and have loved reading ever since. I was terrible at writing, couldn’t spell at all, took ages NOT to learn the rules of grammar and my handwriting was usually indecipherable. Yet I ended up an English teacher!
Like my father, I loved telling stories to my younger siblings, usually plagiarizing his at first. Then I made up my own stories, using cut out figures from my mother’s catalogues to ‘act them out’. My twin and I would spend hours doing this. Eventually I started to write down stories and poems, even though most people (often me) couldn’t read them. Some people even accused me of getting them from books.
Then along came Miss Andrews, the teacher in my Secondary School who changed my life. She listened, she believed, she encouraged. She taught me how to write in ways others could read. She taught me how to cope with my kind of dyslexia (I didn’t know what is was then). I have been writing poems, stories and ‘creative’ words ever since.
Life, study, work, raising a family, alongside a job I loved but which became increasingly busy and stressful, limited the amount of ‘creative writing’ I could do. But writing has always ‘been there’ for me, especially the poetry, without which I don’t think I could have coped with several of life’s ‘traumas’. I occasionally tried to make time to write more things that were not study or work related but haven’t managed to do that until now – when retirement and fewer family commitments have given me the time to do what I have wanted to do for most of my life.
This website is one result. I am also writing a novel (‘Moor To Sea’) based on my ancestors in the 1800s, loving the research-without-exams aspect as well as the stories I am ‘finding’. It is taking a long time (having now had had several drafts and re-drafts). There is still a lot to do before I can publish it but it is still as addictive as ever. I have also started to map out the second (follow-on) novel.
I still do ‘spurts’ of ‘reflective’ writing but do not yet feel able to put most of these on my website – too “fragmented” perhaps? Originally, I was going to create a ‘thoughts for the day’ book similar to many I have used to help me in the past. I still read ‘inspirational’ writing (as well as other people’s poetry).
I’ve recently started reading the Poldark novels – wish I could write the Yorksre accent as well as Winston Graham does the Cornish one. Hope it doesn’t brush off into my re-writes – one of the things I thought I needed to do in my most recent (final?) edit of ‘Moor To Sea’ is to add more dialogue….
So many people have helped and inspired me since Miss Andrews. My family, people I have learned with and worked with; my students, friends who still inspire, people I have “written” with and so many others. I thank them all, the living and the dead, the remembered and forgotten, with all my heart.
Very much in the land of the living is my friend Paul Ferris, without whose help this site would not have been created. Thank you Paul, for all your continuing support, encouragement, hard work, patience and understanding.