When I was growing up, I wanted to be a –

yr_12_ex_book_cover.jpgAn archaeologist. That was the first thing I remember saying I wanted to be, when the teacher asked the primary school class what we’d like to be. Other ideas around the class were air hostess and astronaut. Interesting … I’ve just noticed that all these coveted careers start with the letter A.

But by the time I was nine, I wanted to be a writer. It was then that I wrote a long – I would say impressively long – story about going right out the back, away from the house, as far as the second levee bank, and finding a lump of wood. I lifted this lump and there was a hole. I went down the hole (could have been inspired by Alice) and came out in another dimension. Somehow I was suddenly in outer space. I had a few adventures out there, came back out of the hole, repositioned the lump of wood, and thence home.

I started keeping a journal when I was eleven. I wrote it in a school exercise book. When I filled it, I started another. I now have cardboard boxes full of exercise books full of bleating. (When I talk to myself, I tend to bleat.)

In high school I intuited that I might be seen as a wanker if I said I wanted to be a writer, so I went for something nearby, which was journalism. Which is basically what I ended up doing, once I realised I needed a proper job. That, and community arts, which was also nearby in the sense that it was creative and it involved a lot of writing (of grant applications). And video script writing. That kind of flowed out of the community arts stuff. And making videos. That flowed out of the script writing. All of which paid some bills but was never the thing I got so excited about at nine, when I wrote myself into outer space and got myself home safely in time for dinner.

And then, last year, I got extremely ill and thought drat, I never really pursued that writing thing. Not properly.

But then I got better. So now I’m doing it. I’m writing and writing and writing and writing. To make me write, I’ve got myself a personal bootcamp instructor, Charlotte Wood. She is a magician! Woo!

Okay, that’s the end of this blog post. Thanks to Twitter followers @RoseyChang and @Lynsm7 for suggesting this topic. I Tweeted that I needed a suggestion for my blog post tonight, and they tweeted “When I was growing up, I wanted to be a …” and “there’s a book in everyone” respectively.


5 thoughts on “When I was growing up, I wanted to be a –

  1. John Merkel

    Funny about the exercise book story. One of my first ones, fully illustrated, involved a bunch of castaways, including a skipper, a millionaire, a movie star, etc. But the main character was a lonely swagman who went around fixing things like broken high-heeled shoes.

    Also, like every second boy my age, Astronaut was top of my list of vocations. I wrote a letter to Neil Armstrong (care of NASA) and got back a fabulous kit with a massive colour poster of an exploded view diagram of the Lunar module, and a signed photo of the Apollo 11 crew. I also asked for a piece of moon rock, which they declined to provide.

    You feel like a coffee later?

  2. karen woodhall

    My primary school class was full of nurse and teacher wannabes, wonder what they actually went on to become? Nobody ever says “politician, drug addict, or lawyer”
    Keep writing Tracy, love reading what you come up with.
    ps I like the sci-fi/paranormal flavoured stories, absolute best!
    More “down the rabbit hole” please?

  3. Anne Powles

    So glad you are writing. I enjoy reading what you offer us, but I would very much enjoy what you might find today if you went out that very same hole!

    (I always wanted to be a vet, but after my teacher told me I would need to spell better to become a vet I gave that idea up in despair and decided to become a lawyer. When I told her this she said nothing – perhaps a reflection of her own, well founded despair about her chances of improving this aspect of my learning.)

  4. Helen Bergen

    yes, I wanted to be a writer too…but didn’t think speech/policy writing was going to be where I ended up. Apparently my school mates thought I’d end up in politics (sigh). Bit too far from the reams of poetry (bleating?) I used to write. I need a rabbit hole. Come to think of it, where are my journals?

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