English and I have never had an easy relationship. That sounds a contradiction in kind, especially as my title is why I love writing. I passed my English O-level after three attempts, even though I did achieve the old style CSE grade 1 first time around. I wanted to pass the proper O-level, (as I called it), the CSE seemed second best to me. The door to English literature education at school was closed at age 15, when a failed English literature mock exam, robbed me by two percent, the chance to study literature further. I understood, in a recent conversation, that a literary treat was missed by not studying Chaucer or Shakespeare. That sounds disappointing but hey, I may give the classics now a look.
To make sense of all this – as my introduction to this blog, we need to go back to the time of good old school days. I hated most of my primary school years and beyond due to two things. Firstly, like many children then and now, I was savagely bullied from about the age of six to nine years. Secondly, I hated sport of any kind which was compulsory at school, because being painfully thin I was very self-conscious, and was taunted about that as well, especially from the boys.
I don’t want to discuss the bullying too much because it is too personal but it played havoc in my early learning years for one big reason. Apart from all the other torture, the bullies stopped me working on my own work in class and made me read for most of the time. Now, our school had a system where you had nine subjects and providing you completed all the work in any one week, you could pretty much do your own thing. The teachers, apart from one, were too dozy to cotton on to the fact that I never did any work, only read, and the reason for this was that I was being bullied. Like so many I could tell no-one. I was also made to do the bullies homework for them and not my own. This did eventually stop when a new girl came to the school, befriended me and I told her about my two girl bullies. She put an end to it and can remember her revenge, as she stamped all over one of the girls new coat in the cloak room and completely trashed it.
This was not the greatest of starts when you were in a learning environment. I had five passions then: history, reading books, ballet, writing poems- my first was about the moon, aged about 6, and can still remember most of it and the weather. Yes, the last one sounds a little strange but I was mad about the weather and wanted to be a meteorologists, (until the realisation that my other sciences were not good enough to even hope for such a career). I conducted detailed weather reports then. A rain guage was made out of an old soup can and measuring stick, the clouds were named and a wind gauge provided me with the wind’s direction. My father bought me a barometer. The geography teacher was so impressed, I was promoted to a higher class and accused of being a swot and teacher’s creep by a boy, because of my discussions with this teacher about my weather reports.
I left school with two O-levels in the subjects that I was any good at; those being History and Geography. My new friend, that stopped the bullies, was not a studious person and to keep up with her and her mates, I spent most of my time not studying but hanging on street corners while her gang tried to find me a boyfriend without much success.
All that changed at 16. My friend left school and was dating. I went into sixth form to study for a career in the caring profession. I was left alone to work and I also met an extremely talented student guy who was an artist. We struck up a passionate friendship, and that was when my first writing started. We wrote almost daily letters, book reviews, music reviews. We discussed art, literature, music: in fact we discussed everything. I was with young adults committed to learning. My studies included an A-level in history as well as catching up with all the other O-levels needed for my profession. My studying was all day and night, every night for two years. I passed every single one required including the A-level, only once again the pass grade could have been higher, much higher had the ability to write well been easy for me.
The English was still a problem and the continual haunting words from teachers: ” your knowledge on the subject is good but it is the English that lets you down.” I still remain very sensitive about it and on here, my blogs always takes an age to complete, as I edit and edit, looking for any error of full stop, comma etc. When I began my studies in higher education two and a half years ago, I purchased books on writing and started to learn much more. Remaining uneasy about lots of aspects regarding English, and mindful of all the mistakes being created as I write, I acknowledge the fact that a formal English tuition course would benefit me enormously.
Enough of the history. Why do I love writing and why write in the first place.
1) Because I see writing as a creative process, an art form and I love artistic forms of expression.
2) Because I have something I want to say with all my many concerns and causes: human rights, women’s issues, poverty, environment and health. The urgency to do something, however small and in what ever way that can be done. Writing is a powerful tool for thinking, for personal growth and for change.
3) It is said that people who write do so because it is like a therapy itself, for the wounded, hurt and vulnerable. I have been in all these categories, but then so have most in their own way and not everyone wants to write. I suppose for me it is about that little person saying I am not beaten. I have a voice and your actions have not defeated me. Of course this sentence is talking about my school days and bullying. Always having seen myself as the dim one, the striving to be better, brighter, smarter has been a long and often painful journey.
To go on and obtain my degree would be like reaching for the stars and grasping all of them in one hand. Whether that will ever be achieved I am not sure. There are time and funding issues to consider. But for me the writing will continue. To get noticed and published, is of course for most writers the highest recognition. I have ideas on that but they are just ideas at the moment. DREAMS!
Blogging has at least given me a chance to share my written words with a larger audience in a safe way, even though it is on the public domain. I think very carefully about what I am writing about. The main thing is I just enjoy it.
Now can anyone tell me should English have a capital letter or not? It did not look right without one. Of course it needs one, it is a name, correct or not? See, not too sure even now on some of the most basic aspects of writing, yet that does not put me off. That statement says a lot about me and about secondary modern education in the seventies?
My final message tonight. Keep writing everybody and do what you want with your life, I am, no-one and nothing is going to stop me. Now let’s do that spell check. NB:( Only five errors, not bad).