Annie On Writing

May 19, 2010

Seeds of Writing

Filed under: Articles From write anything,My Journey as a Writer — Annie Evett @ 12:01 am

Over at Write Anything,  Jodi posed the question regarding ones roots in writing. Its been a constant shame for me within writing forums and groups to admit that I had never planned or dreamt of being a writer growing up, nor later on as careers came and went on my search for truth.

I’ve always maintained it was something that was waved at me and I kind of fell into about three years ago.  However, looking back, the seeds were sown early on and I have been writing most of my life; but have never claimed or honoured  it.

Growing up in the bush, and eldest of a tribe of children, daughter to good parents; who wished the best for me, but never understood how I cracked out of the mould so early; I was the first in my family to not only go to year twelve (the highest level in grade school) but had the audacity to ‘waste’ my entrance into university on an arts degree in drama.

An avid reader, I consumed all the books our traveling library bus would bring around once a month. Edgar Rice Burrows series “Tarzan” remains a treasured set of books, read so many times they have begun to fall apart.  As with most young girls, diaries were the mainstay of my writing; but mine were filled with an alternate life, seeped in history and fantasy with characters so real it was a shock to be pulled back into the mundane existence of milking cows and harvesting vegetables before shooting off to school.

I’d dreamed of becoming an archeologist, having sucked up the myths, legends and details about ancient civilisations and cultures. My poor suffering parents humoured me for years, but crushed my dreams when I was 13 telling me that everything had been dug up and there was nothing else to discover; so best I get back to reality and plans (i.e marry a farmer and have a horde of children)

I had family spread around the country, so was encouraged to keep in touch with letters as I grew up. Before the event of blogging and emails, sharing news and photos took form of my monthly newsletter. In the 5 years I lived in the UK, I diligently sent around 50 letters every fortnight on my adventures on motorcycle, hiking and backpacking around Europe. Many of my audience urged me to put it together in book form as in their words, I made history come alive with my stories and insights into the places I visited and the enthusiasm I had whilst there.  An active community member – regardless to where I lived, I inevitably became involved with writing the clubs newsletters or updates and marketing material. So looking back, I guess, writing has always been part of my life, I’d just not noticed.

A sympathetic English teacher encouraged me to audition for the school play; of which I gained lead role and my love of the theatre and acting was born. I maintain my passion for character, the detail and intricacies which set a living person apart from a generalised or stock standard cliche was birthed from my studies within the theatre. For me, in writing or in acting, the character carries the action, the life of any plot. Its true that I hear and see my characters as real beings. However, its in the same vein that when I sketch, I wait for the image to present itself on the page, and all I need to do is to trace around it.

There have been numerous writers and musicians who claim that they are simply ‘translators who take the notes’.  However, I swing between believing that and what novelist, E.L. Doctorow once said –  ”Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” Writing now shapes my day. Every conversation I have or overhear, every news story, photograph or image I take in, provides fodder for the next article or story. In honouring my roots, it allows me the escapism to explore lost civilisations, to question humanity and challenge societal ideals.

Image from a private collection – its me at 15 on a rocky outcrop on the family property.


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