Words

When I was four. I remember not being able to read. I would stare at the shapes and lines like they were magic. Those shapes and lines when put together made pictures come alive. They answered questions, they gave instruction and people followed. I couldn’t wait to discover their powerful and mystic meaning. When I was four, I hadn’t even thought of writing a book.
When I was five I learned to read and I understood the squiggly lines and shapes. Their mystery transformed in front of me from unrecognisable magic to familiar sounds and shapes. One day, when I learned all the words, I wanted to write a book.

When I was six, I did. I wrote books for my nanna in 100-page notebooks from Jewel supermarket.
‘Write me a story’ Nanna would say, and I would. She would read them and laugh till she had tears coming out. Even if I didn’t necessarily mean to make them funny.
These shapes and sounds and lines when put together had the power to make my nana laugh till tears came out. I had discovered a magic.
‘You will write brilliant books one day’ My Nana would say,  and I wanted to.

When I was six an a half I became one of eighteen hundred girls and six hundred boys that fell victim to a child sexual predator (reported) in Australia that year.
I would throw up before church. God probably didn’t want me in there and I learned that God’s words had different meanings depending on who read them.
But he wasn’t the only dude who could write a book.

When I was seven, I found my reading kept my grades in class, even though I found it harder and harder to concentrate on the formalities of the words themselves.
I still wanted to write a book.
When I was eight, a detective came to speak to me. She was kind but firm that I used the proper names for words.
I learned that words could be painful and uncomfortable.
I still wanted to write a book.

When I was nine, the detective told my parents that the man responsible for this would most likely, at my expense, get away with it. I learned that words were sometimes not heard, or read, but they still existed.
I still wanted to write a book.

When I was ten, I was told that the man my words weren’t powerful enough against, had done the same thing to a policeman’s child. I learned that words were more powerful when coming from different people.
I still wanted to write a book.

When I was twelve, my parents divorced. It was bitter and nasty. I learned that words could be used as weapons.
I still wanted to write a book.

When I was fourteen, my mother remarried a man who bought us a sega mega drive. He also beat her and ordered her day and my day.  I learned that words could be too scared to come out sometimes, and unable to be held in at other times. He ran over my cat to get back at me for mouthing off. I learned that there were consequences for the words that couldn’t be held in.
I wanted to run away and write a book.

When I was fifteen I wished I had never done any drugs ever.
But they sure made for a peaceful headspace, which I would need to write a book.

When I was sixteen, I fell pregnant and was politely asked to leave school, which was the place I learned all of my words and their magic, and I hadn’t concentrated on the word rules enough, and now I would probably not be able to write a book.

At seventeen I was a mum and too busy to write a book.
I still wanted to.
Maybe one day.

After this, I learned words can define you if you let them and I wrote words, that weren’t books.
I learned that books were words with rules and having the words alone were not enough. I didn’t know the rules, or the margins, or the orders on white space, or paragraph indentation, or the shudders given to adjectives that end in L.Y. or which words could or could not be separated by the Oxford-fucking- comma.
I learned those who earned three letters H.S.C weren’t as restricted as me.

At 34 I read so many words, and at the end, completed my HSC.

I learned that having the words was actually the most important thing all along. Everything else would follow or could be learned, or guided. I made at least four errors in this thing. Did you notice?

At 35 I began to learn the rules and better words.
At 36 I finished a book.
It isn’t perfect but I wrote a book.

I wrote a fucking book.

Wanna read it?

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