“To be a person is to have a story to tell.” – Isak Dinesen
Reading and writing have been my constant companions as far back as I can remember. As a child I would read by stolen torchlight under the duvet, or behind sofas at other people’s houses when my parents were visiting friends. Small, secluded places, marginal spaces, where this world and another could meet and coexist.
I wrote. Stories, poems, comic strips, little plays performed at Christmas with my cousin. I wrote diaries and journals, pouring out every detail of a dream, an event, a day, that I could recollect, certain that capturing it all was somehow essential. From a young age words were how I understood the world, and how I escaped it.
Unsurprisingly perhaps I went to university to read English Literature. The late teenaged years had done their usual damage in denting my confidence; parents and well-meaning teachers had questioned the sanity of a life lived by pen; they suggested shadow careers in journalism, teaching, the law. I stood firm through my degree. Writing was my thing. It would happen, I didn’t need to know the ‘how’ of it all, right?
Coaxed and lured
Then after a few false starts in teaching (!), the theatre and a tech start up, I ended up in a career in financial data, spending ten years being nudged, coaxed and lured up the greasy pole into senior management. An obvious choice, right???! Certainly the ‘sensible’ thing to do…
It was, by all outsider markers, a successful career. I was regularly promoted, travelled the world and was given endless training opportunities. I was equally regularly identified as part of ‘top talent’ programmes and as a candidate destined for great corporate things.
But all the while I was writing. In the dark, on the margins of time, the slim spaces when the laptop was shut and nobody needed me, all the time trying to satiate a call and soothe a small, disappointed voice that said, “Really? This is it?”
I’ve always been a late developer. As a foetus I was ‘small for dates’; I was the last in my (secondary school) class to reluctantly concede that Father Christmas probably didn’t actually do a round-the-world trip delivering gifts on the 24th December. Despite marrying in my twenties (and divorcing three years later) I was in my thirties before I truly fell in love for the first time and I was blown away by how far removed my previous emotional entanglements had been from the real thing.
After years of feeling determined that I was not the slightest bit maternal, confident in my own inability to be a ‘good’ mum, falling in love opened me up to the possibility that a family might be another magical part of my future. And so, at the age of 39, I gave birth to the most amazing creature (after my husband) I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet in my life, my daughter.
And after a life lived according to someone else’s rules, after marriage, divorce, a successful career, the early deaths of both my dad and, 11 years later, my mum; after a couple of false starts down the track of braving the wilderness and risking a more creative life, I find I have things I need say, questions about society, politics, social policy, life, death and motherhood, that I need to research and tell. There are my own stories and the stories of other people that I believe you need to hear, stories that might just turn the gem of your understanding of life a slightly different direction and sparkle it with a newly refracted, differently coloured light.
Welcome to my blog. And thank you for being here.
My love of and skill in reading and writing has seen me work in industries you might expect like the arts, theatre and publishing as well as those you wouldn’t like tech and science start-ups, financial market data vending, environmental consultancy and Sales and Marketing for software companies.
It’s seen me develop as a manager, leader and coach within the corporate environment, spend my evenings stage managing live performances, and it’s seen me writing copy for newspaper and magazine articles, marketing collateral, websites and blogs.