Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Writing For The Sake Of It.

I went to sleep last night thinking about my latest fiction serial. That led me to consider just how long I had been writing. I don’t mean writing stories on a blog, or even in a notebook, and I don’t just mean the writing I embarked on when I retired and thought to keep my brain active.

From a very early age, around seven years old in my case, I felt the need to write. When we had to write a one-page essay at school, I wrote two pages.
I wasn’t showing off, or trying to look better than my school friends, I just couldn’t stop myself.

At secondary school, we got homework in every subject. That came as a shock at first, but I didn’t mind too much, as it gave me even more reason to write. I wasn’t one of those kids who griped that much about homework and deadlines, I just went home and got on with it. Even when the homework was on a science subject, or something like Geography, it involved writing.
I remember having to descibe what a glacier was, and handing in five full sheets of writing that talked about different types of ice, and how it could look blue in a certain light. I didn’t get a good mark, as I missed out the important technical stuff. But it was writing, and I enjoyed doing it.

English and History gave me full rein to write late into the night. In what was supposed to be an appreciation of one chapter in the book ‘Wuthering Heights’, I almost filled an exercise book with an analysis of the destructive relationship between Heatchcliff and Cathy. Given a History homework about the Parliamentary reform in the early 1800s, I wrote a description of the Peterloo Massacre that the History teacher remarked took longer to read than the actual massacre lasted.

At the age of fourteen, I was writing like someone possessed by words.

It wasn’t much different in another language. When studying French, the teacher insisted on taxing our ability to the limit. We were reading a difficult enough book in Englsh translation, ‘L’Etranger’ (The Outsider) by Albert Camus. Of course, our copies were not translated. We had to write some kind of overview of the book, all in French. I worked at it all weekend and handed in a full notebook. Even allowing for my mistakes in the grammar and spellings of a foreign language, it was a complete work, if I say so myself.
The teacher flicked through the numerous pages, shaking her head. Then with a smile, she said. “If Camus was still alive, I would send this to him”.
She said that in French, naturally.

After school came work, and not too much writing. I made do with ideas in a notebook, making lists, and more reading than writing. Marriage followed, and as the years went by, I had little time or reason to write. Every so often, ideas would burst out of my head onto a page in a notebook, simply because they had to. I wrote letters to friends, and even to people I didn’t know that well. Letters became my new form of writing, and were often ten pages long, written on both sides.

In 2012, I retired from work and moved up here. A friend suggested I start a blog, to perhaps note the differences between life in London, and rural Norfolk. Within a few months I was posting daily, and not long after that a lifetime of ideas, experiences, and reminiscences started to translate into fiction on my blog as short stories, then serials. Eight years later, and I just cannot seem to stop writing, even if I wanted to. But one thing has become clear.

It was always going to happen.

70 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

  1. Hey, what a passion, Pete! One can feel it reading your stories. This can not be learned, this is coming from heart, and is skilful.You are blessed with your early interest in History too, because this took me years. Btw: Only the interest in, not the knowledge at all. Lol Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pete, sorry for the delay in this and other comments – my wife and I travelled the last 4 days – 4 planes, lots of masks, a few creeps who are trying to bring us down by now following safety guidelines…the “new normal.” I wanted to commend you for your lifelong love of the written word, and how everyday life didn’t dim that passion!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Lara. Still undecided. A book is a commitment, then that feels like work. I don’t want anything to feel like work ever again. I worked too long and too hard when I was working. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I too have written since I was a child.As a young mother, I kept journals for my five children til they were all grown up. . .no small feat. I will one day, try my hand at a “series”, but it would be far from my comfort zone. You have a lot of ability and I am so glad we met. a fan, Michele

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am fortunate to have stumbled on your blog, Pete. I have learned quite a bit just from reading about your life. You have shared your life generously and it has been a joy to read. Words are a different sort of magical power that not everyone possesses. I am glad you do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Theo. I am looking forward to you getting your own ‘serial compulsion’ back one of these days. Even if it means I will want to have hot chocolate with marshmallows. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  5. Pete, when I was in grade school, I wrote an essay describing the design of a special tombstone. The teacher told me, “You should be a writer.” When I was in high school, we were asked to write a short story in the style of Charles Dickens (we were reading “Oliver Twist”). The teacher said my short story nailed Dickens’ style. When I was in college, I wrote a research paper on medieval fabliaux. The professor said it was the best research paper he’d ever read. When I was in grad school, I wrote an analysis, and created a map, of the setting in “La jalousie,” a nouveau roman written by Alain Robbe-Grillet. The professor said it was something of an achievement, and wasn’t sure whether it had been done before.

    So, I was hopeful that one day I might be a writer.

    I began thinking about a 14-volume sci-fi series when I was in college (inspired by a poster I had on the wall in my studio in Nice, France during my junior year abroad). While in grad school, I came up with lists of character and place names. After graduation, I began writing text, and ended up with around 700 or 800 pagesโ€”still a long way to go. After some editing, I had a vanity press print the series’ introductory tome. However, it never got a proper release, and it remains to be seen if I’ll ever get back to the serial… I did manage to pop out a religious satire in 2013, and am currently working on two detective novels to be self-published (fingers crossed) in January 2022.

    When I first moved to Las Vegas in 1995 after bumming around in France for 17 months, I was foolishly optimistic. I came up with a number of book titles, and established what I thought was a reasonable publishing timeline. As it turns out, the timeline was miles beyond wishful thinking. First of all, life has been pretty rough going. And second of all, I’m incredibly slow as a writer. But I haven’t given up. So maybe I’ll end up writing just eight books before I kick the bucket rather than twice that many, and be buried with my unfinished sci-fi series manuscript. If only I could afford to have someone carve that special tombstone…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Same here only my writings were political/social/ read everything I could lay my hands on and made a wealth of notes…I still have the notebooks from years past….most were destroyed by Katrina but a few were saved…..research holds a special place for me…..keep up the good writing…many depend on your blog chuq

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I know what you mean Pete. I always loved writing stories at primary school and one day my teacher liked one story I wrote so much that she made me go to the next form up from mine and read it out to their class! I can’t remember that well what the story was but I think it was Pinocchio ( she’d give us themes to write about). I didn’t write any fiction after that until 2000 when I had graduated from university. It just appeared out of nowhere- scenes in my head like films. So I just opened my laptop and typed and typed and typed…

    I have been sporadic with it though since I got back into doing art ( which I’d stopped for a few years also).

    The two are starting to line up to compliment each other now.

    I am glad that I can write in the afternoon now, because at first I mostly found I could only write at night which wasn’t the best thing because I’d be up all night at it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I started blogging, I did it at night, and often stayed up until it got light. Then as I got older, I became too tired for that, so now write until around 8 pm, on and off.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

    1. In the loft I have some old school books and reports. But they are from when I was quite young. I found them at my Mum’s house after she died. She had kept them all that time. Thanks for the kind words.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure it is just all this pressure of the pandemic. It has stopped me reading books, as I cannot concentrate on them. But writing is flowing easier, as it is a diversion keeping me busy.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh I think you might just need some inspiration! It’s just a lull I think. It’ll come back when you are not expecting it! Wishing you a great afternoon and more hours of writing….

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I might pay someone to fomat it all for me to put on Kindle. But I really can’t be bothered with the marketing and publicity. Just something to leave behind in case any of my family are interested. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You don’t have to do any marketing unless selling is important to you. Once your works are available, they will be read by at least a few people beyond the blogosphere. And they won’t disappear if WordPress does (not that it’s going anywhere as yet). Formatting ebooks isn’t all that difficult, but it’s fiddly enough you may want to pay someone to do it. Print book formatting is more of a challenge.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. โ€œ The teacher flicked through the numerous pages, shaking her head. Then with a smile, she said. โ€œIf Camus was still alive, I would send this to himโ€.โ€
    If that isnโ€™t a big compliment I donโ€™t know what is! ๐Ÿ˜Š Well, all I can say is having followed your blog for a long while now, even though I went away a couple of times because of my health issues, it never fails to entertain me. The diversity of it, and the many subjects, as well as your style of writing is pretty much was sells it. And I think that pretty much everyone who follows you is in awe of the way you write your stories and posts. That and of course being an amazing person..but hey, you already knew that right? ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 7 people

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