I’ve wanted to write since I was little.  In fact, I still have the stories I wrote – and illustrated – in primary school, filed away in a falling apart folio, crammed into a box of  sentimental ‘stuff’ that I just cannot bring myself to throw out.  I decided to get them out yesterday, for old times sake (and as a way to motivate me to stop procrastinating and really get out there and do what I still want to do – which is ‘write’).

I’m especially drawn to ‘Kalgoorlie and the Sad, Giant Tomato‘.  This story was about a school science experiment gone awry. Janine (moi) accidentally creates a living, friendly, giant mutant tomato. His name is Vincent and he talks (it does appear that he was named after one of the dogs I had as a kid – Vincent – he died of cancer). One day, Vincent the Tomato runs away and hides in one of the mines in Kalgoorlie (where I lived as a little-un). There are a few ‘citings’ by people and hysteria spreads, as accusations are bandied about of ‘a big red blob’ attacking miners (witnesses refer to ‘it’ as being a Russian weapon – funny how a 10-year-old can pick up on what was going on in the news at the time).  Stereotypically, Vincent is just misunderstood (King Kong anybody?), and the story ends after a climax of helicopters, guns, army barricades, and tears. Vincent ends up shrinking back to his normal size – whilst remaining alive – with Janine and her best friends taking ‘turns of keeping the Tomato for a week each, at their houses…probably still doing it to this very day.’  I got an A+.  The spelling and grammar were atrocious.

Then there is ‘Time Zone‘, a 13 page story written in running writing, broken down into chapters, and illustrated by moi. This one involved time travel, had loads of dialogue between characters, a romantic sub-plot, mermaids, action and suspense.  I’m impressed – why can’t I create something like that now?  My teacher commented ‘A very imaginative effort Janine.  You have done well.  More care with spelling would improve your effort. I’m impressed how you’ve maintained your story line so well. Great descriptions.’ I wrote this in 1989 – I was 12, and as you can see, yes…I still had bad spelling.

And then there was my attempt at starting a teen series (at this moment in time I was obsessed with Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew). This ‘master-piece’ was created on an old type-writer – so I’ll blame the inability to delete and correct spelling on the machine itself, and not on my apparent laziness…It was called ‘The Teens – The Night They Saved Daylight,’ and it was an adventure story with another romantic sub-plot (I’d graduated to a love triangle by now!), with the premise of a group of young teenagers saving the world from the ‘evil’ warlock, witch, and their ‘evil followers’ Gizmo and Gremlin.  This must have been written off of the back of my two weeks worth of nightmares as a result of watching the movie ‘Gremlins‘, which contained a Gremlin called Gizmo.  Although wasn’t Gizmo the nice one?

Of course, there are others.  There’s the collaborative efforts from primary school, that somehow I managed to physically keep. I do have a vague recollection that it wasn’t a very pleasant experience – tantrums and tears over who did the most work, and who ‘deserved’ to keep it.  I seemingly came out on top as I was good at tears…oops.  And then there’s the Uni years – where I will not acknowledge any of my poor attempts in the creative writing department (apart from the fact that I kept a ‘consistent’ writing journal). I will never take another creative writing course as long as I live, as I found it stifling, and it succeeded in ensuring that I did not write for many years to come.  Of course, after a bit of self-analysis, this can probably be blamed on my lack of confidence and inability to accept criticism at the time – so maybe ‘never’ was a bit harsh.

Which brings me to now. Writing, or should I say blogging, which is a form of writing.  This is my attempt to actually DO what I have told myself I should be doing all of this time, whilst sharing stories from my life, family, friends, pets, travels – and whatever else may flow through these fingers and end up in these ‘pages’.

14 thoughts on “Beginnings

  1. Well, with a story like this you were bound to be a writer! I love Vincent’s story. I was thinking of taking a creative writing course. Well, I won’t -thanks for sharing your experience on this!

  2. When I began blogging I was just killing time from unemployment. I had the secret desire in me to write; but couldn’t ever take it up. When I read your posts I was so encouraged by the whole blogging experience and you were the first “Personal Blogger” I met and I loved your writing so much!

    You should take it up; it has been your childhood passion and it is where you find true happiness and you are passionate about it!

    I hope you find and pursue a great writing career so that you could leave the nasty job of yours!

    Whatever has “flown” out of the fingers is very well appreciated!
    Good luck sweetie!

    • Thank you Hajra. I needed this comment as a reminder after getting a ‘promotion’ in said job…I don’t want to lose site of my end goal. I did a lot of work – personally – on reminding myself of this on the weekend. Thank you for your support, words and reminders : ) You keep me going.

  3. I guess it really is true when people say that if you wanted to know what your true passion is, look at what you really wanted to do when you were a child. Thanks for sharing this, Janine!…for sharing your passion with the rest of us!

  4. Janine, That Tomato story was/is a winner. You should take a look at it again now that you’re an adult and maybe rewrite as science fiction. Post it on your blog and see what reaction you get. A writer is always a writer, and we’re bursting with ideas that overflow into our blog posts and beyond. Like you, I was a passionate (but book) writer when I was young but like you, I got into the adult world of business and relationships, and had to suppress my creative instincts until I was much older. Your blogging is a start and you can go anywhere from here.

  5. Pingback: Starting Out Blogging « Reflections from a Red Head

  6. OMG! I so relate! Kudos to you for actually finishing your pieces! I used to type away on my dad’s old DOS computer and write a million introductions that turned into nothing.

    Post some short stories!! =) I loved the premise behind Kalgoorlie and the Sad, Giant Tomato! =)

  7. Hi Janine –

    I used to write a lot when I was younger and into early adult hood. Then I stopped for a long time. When I started my first masters degree program in 2006, that got the writing ball rolling again for me which eventually lead to me starting my blog 2.5 months ago. I’m glad you’re writing again. 🙂

  8. I didn’t write as a child but as I got older I wrote more and more. And then it sort of fell away with little time to write. Although I would often write short pieces for my classes to illustrate a concept. I love blogging as I get to write when I want, about what I want, and it also has some kind of an audience.

  9. Love this first blog post, Janine! You know, it doesn’t matter about the spelling and the grammar, but more the intent. Which is to say “Kalgoorlie and the Sad, Giant Tomato” sounds like an awesome story. Great plot! I’m glad you stuck with writing. Is there any more fiction in your future?

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