How I Became a Writer

For most of my childhood I was lonely, bored and wanted to be part of something else. I lived a fantasy life in other people’s books, fell in love with characters and pined to be part of fictional families I read about. I made up stories and put myself in them. I didn’t write these stories down, but they played like a video in my head the whole time.

Then I discovered the poems of Sylvia Plath. I read her novel The Bell Jar and my life changed forever. Here was a woman, a girl, who was able to express the way she felt about her life in words AND she got recognition for it. She was a tortured soul, just like me, but she had become SOMEONE.

This was a revelation to me. I knew at that point that I would be a writer. I didn’t have a clue how to go about it and there was no one around to offer encouragement.
I had no mentor, but a little flame had been lit deep inside me and it flickered and flared depending on what else was happening around me, but it never went out. 
Then in 1983 the band The Smiths hit the world and in Morrissey, I found a soul mate. 

The Smiths

Unlike Sylvia Plath, he was still alive and stood on stage baring his soul (and his chest) and told everyone that he found life hard. So did I! I was never going to be a pop star or a singer. But I could be a writer!

I joined a school for writers and suddenly I found myself in an environment where I got credit for my ideas. For the first time in my life I felt I belonged. Over the next five years, I honed my writing skills and wrote two (unfinished) novels.  Unfortunately, my day job became more demanding, I had a family and somehow writing was pushed to the back burner. But the flame never went out. I didn’t talk about it much. How could I claim to be a writer if I never actually wrote?

Ten years passed, and an idea for a story appeared in my head. A conversation about a pandemic seminar somehow stuck to a pipe dream I had about self sufficiency. The seed for a book was planted. That seed grew into The Berringer Connection. 

I haven’t looked back since.

And now Morrissey has written his own book. I have read it, of course, and I have a secret fantasy that one day he will read one of mine.

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