Lindsay the Writer
As a young child (and still now, actually) I absolutely loved the Fraggles. Alongside Gobo there was Red (the picture is of me and Red Fraggle), Boober, Wembley and Mokey - all distinct characters with colourful lives. The book poetically took you through one of Gobo’s amazing adventures and it instantly captured my imagination. This wasn’t just because I loved the story in itself, it was because I loved the idea of Gobo going on adventures. Going to places unknown where thousands of different things could happen to him.
I couldn’t help it, as soon as I could pick up a pencil and form words of my own, I was writing my own Fraggle tales. I didn’t want to read any more about where Gobo goes, I wanted to write about it myself. And so I did.
I don’t remember much about the stories. The only thing I do remember is having this overwhelming urge to write. Reading became dull as every time I read the book the same thing happened. By writing my own stories, I could create brand new worlds for Gobo and his friends and there were infinite possibilities. I loved it.
Back then was no different to now. I just wanted to write all the time. Even at a young age it was my favourite pastime. But I wasn’t really conscious of it. It was something that I did; but as far as I knew, it was what everyone did.
The big turning point for me came when I was ten years old.
The hunger to write has been within me all my life. It’s like a pleasant ache inside of me that won’t go away until I put pen to paper or open up Word on my laptop and start typing.
In my final year at Primary School, much to my delight, we used to have Creative Writing lessons. I was given a legitimate reason to indulge in my passion. It was in one of those particular lessons where, for the first time, writing became an ambition, not just a hobby.
We’d been given a task to write a story. I can’t remember the detail, but I know that, as usual, I’d got lost in my imagination. Characters, scenes, plotlines, they all came pouring out of my mind, down my hand and out through the HB pencil I was scribbling with. I was having to write so fast so that I could keep up with my thoughts.
Taking a moment to consider a sentence, I looked up and suddenly noticed how all of the classmates around me had not only finished drafting up their stories (which were of a far more appropriate length) but they’d also transferred their creativity into their neat, official exercise books ready for the teacher to collect. I was still composing my masterpiece, already about six pages into my rough book.
I looked at my little blue watch. It was nearly morning break and I’d spent far too much time in the fantasy land I’d created. I know the story had a dog in it, that’s all I can remember about the plot. The most vivid memory I have is of the panic I suddenly experienced as I became painstakingly aware that I needed to get the story, not only finished, but also written up neatly in my exercise book by the time the bell went. With very little choice, I needed to bring the story to a close, and fast. I halted the characters
mid-action, with some incredible tangent to the plot, and I brought my tale to a very abrupt ending.
There were just minutes for me to write up my work before break time began, and there were two very important reasons why I couldn’t miss the fifteen minute interval between lessons. One, of course, was that I wanted to go and play with my friends. The second, and far more vital reason, was that my wonderful mom had packed me a tasty bag of crisps to eat as my mid-morning snack. No break meant no scrumptious delight to keep me going until lunch. I loved to write, but there were only fifteen minutes a day for me to eat my crisps. They were probably something delicious like Walkers Snaps, tomato flavour, and they were very much a highlight of my day.
I picked up my neat exercise book, grasped my pencil firmly between my fingers and I scribbled faster than the speed of light to get the task completed. The irony was lost on me that the final piece looked like a car wreck, with my rough book version being the far neater of the two.
The bell went and I was scrawling away with no time to breathe. ‘Oh Lindsay,’ Mrs Collins said, looking over my shoulder, ‘you’ve written so much. Just get it written up in your neat book and you can go for break.’
I was cursing myself. I made a pact with myself that next time I’d write no more than one page. What had I been thinking? Why hadn’t I thought it through?
I could hear my Snaps calling my name, taunting me from my bag just outside the classroom. This felt like some awful punishment for disappearing off into a make-believe land instead of just completing the task as requested.
Now totally on my own except for the teacher, I blasted through to my very brief finale, my hand now throbbing with pain. I stood up quickly to hand in my messy neat work. The teacher had already read over my shoulder to find out what my story was about and I prepared myself for a telling off.
I’d written far too much, I hadn’t completed the work on time, and my handwriting was an absolute disgrace. Staying in at break time was never something good children did and I awaited the lecture off the teacher. However, as I looked up at her she had a massive smile across her face. I wasn’t expecting the smile, and I absolutely wasn’t ready for the words that followed.
‘Well done, Lindsay. This is great work. You’ll be an author one day,’ she said. It wasn’t a question, it was a statement. She wasn’t asking me if that’s what I wanted to do, she was telling me as if she’d realised my destiny.
A moment of pride surged through me. I remember it so well. It sounded so grown up, so professional. I could be an author. No, I was going to be an author.
From that moment on my love of writing became an ambition to be a writer. As I scurried to my bag to relieve my desperately lonely bag of Snaps, I’d also scurried onto a new pathway in my life. I knew what I wanted to do. I knew where my life was going. I wasn’t sure how it would all turn out, but I was going to be a writer.
The idea was in my head and it’s stayed firmly there. Although I’ve written relentlessly for every year since, I’ve always been afraid of calling myself a writer. I thought that until I was published then I couldn’t make such a claim. I am published now, but in hindsight I realise I’m no more a writer now than I’ve ever been. If you do something all the time, think of it all the time, and love it more than anything else in the world, then it’s only right to see yourself as just that.
So this is me: Lindsay the Writer. I hope you enjoy my work. I have plenty more ideas and I can’t imagine ever not having something to write about. But I hope, more than anything, my ideas are always enjoyable for you, my readers.
Right, I’m off now to see if I can dig out my Fraggle toys. I might see if Gobo fancies starting a new adventure. Well, you’re never too old for a Fraggle tale.