When I was in my preteen years, my grandmother would bring a whole stack of magazines to my mum each month. She read just about every magazine going, I think.
My favourite parts of the magazines were the little columns about peoples’ lives. There’d usually be a woman in each magazine who would write a weekly piece about her husband or kids or whatever. And then there was always the page at the back of the magazine, where someone would write a longer piece with a really light and airy feel – and usually a little paragraph at the end that tied the whole article up in a neat little bow.
It was through those columns that I first came across Sue Townsend and. The fictional Adrian was a couple of years older than me, but I began to realise that that type of column could host other types of voices.
And I started writing a diary. I was just beyond my thirteenth birthday, and I think that I had something in mind about entertaining people. Something about writing a kind of parody of myself that would have people doubled over with laughter.
I didn’t achieve that, of course. What I actually wrote was a diary about the stuff of teenage angst. Most of it about boys who weren’t at all interested in me. Almost all of it makes my toes curl with embarrassment (I had a quick flick through this afternoon in search of something to include here, and it truly is awful).
I thank my lucky stars that the internet didn’t get properly started until I was well beyond my teenage years. I would have poured all of that angst out on livejournal and would still be regretting it now.
Thankfully, I carried on writing privately, and I kept that up for a good ten years or so, writing in little exercise books from Woolworths rather than restricting myself to a daily slot in an ordinary diary.
The thought of wanting to share and to entertain stayed with me, though, although I’ve never been able to apply myself thoroughly enough to write anything of any substance.
I came across blogging in 2005, I think. I don’t think I went through any great thought-process about why I wanted to blog; it just seemed a perfectly natural thing to join in with. I had a blog on blogger for about eight months or so and really loved doing it – I stopped because a few things in my life changed and I didn’t make time for it.
When I came back to the blogosphere in the spring of this year, I was so surprised at how much everything had changed. I’d arrived here expecting that things would be pretty much as I’d left them five years ago, and that I could just sort of puddle through by posting bits and pieces about everything and nothing. I hoped that the occasional comment would come my way, and that I’d feel a little bit affirmed if one or two people wrote something nice.
Which, of course, is a huge underestimate of how it all works now. Everyone seems so focused and driven, and I’m feeing wonderfully empowered and surprised every day at how this blogging thing isn’t just an oddity any more. Or at least that, if it is still an oddity, there are people out there who are every bit as strange as me to grow and learn together with.
I still have that habit of turning straight to the back page as soon as I open a magazine.
The odd thing now is that it’s kind of strange to read a piece of writing about someone’s life and not be invited to add a comment at the end!
I took this prompt from the linkup over at By Word of Mouth. What a great idea for a linkup post!