travel with me from SAHM to working mum….
A little known fact. I have been in print before, in a proper hard back book, a long time ago.
When I was at primary school, aged 9 or 10 (I visualise where I’m sitting in the class room – top juniors, Class 1) the teacher told us that we would all be entering a competition. Everyone was to write a poem, story, draw a picture on the theme of ‘happiness’. The winning entries would be included in a book entitled ‘A Child’s View of Happiness’. Obviously, I won and was included. I still have my copy of the book; they printed my age incorrectly, but it is still me, my work, printed on the page.
I remember thinking long and hard about what to write. I was quite ‘good’ at English so tried an explanatory paragraph which wasn’t quite right. Several of my friends had finished and were already colouring in their accompanying pictures. I tried a poem, that wasn’t very good either. Most people had now finished and I was beginning to panic that there wouldn’t be time to write something and do a good picture as well. The ‘deadline’ of the lesson end was approaching. Suddenly I got that flash of inspiration writers sometimes experience. I had my idea. It was straightforward, a few words and the illustration was barely one up on a stick drawing. Naive.
We had the option of completing a sentence. ‘Happiness is….’ ‘when I am strong.’ was my reply. Simple. The editors must have liked it, along with my drawing which was a straight arm, thickly drawn with no elbow, just an egg-shaped bump which represented a muscle. Even at the time I thought it was juvenile. But it was chosen.
It’s always a pleasure to win a competition, especially when there is some notional talent involved. But what I remember most about the whole experience wasn’t the moment that my name was read out in assembly, along with the other winner from my school, my friend’s brother, in fact I don’t remember that at all, although I must have been told at some point. What I remembered was that flash of inspiration. The feeling that I hadn’t written anything good enough to submit, and suddenly having a spark of an idea, getting it down on paper, handing it in to the teacher just as she was winding up the lesson.
I put it down to the power of the approaching deadline. Through school, university, work, the hobbyist’s creative writing classes, even cleaning the house before a dinner party! It’s only the threat of a deadline that gets me truly motivated.
The power of the internet.
You can find some pictures from the book here.