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The first time I blogged it was the mid two-thousands. I was living in London and the world was recovering from the dot-com crash. I was working as a graduate in digital media, which mostly seemed to entail endless trips to the pub. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, hadn’t been invented.
I didn’t write many posts, one was about a girl I saw running in Clapham Common, dressed head to toe in pink, like a giant Barbie doll. Another described my first football match, unpicking the strange English customs that went along with it. Then there was a Hello! Magazine boat trip to the Isle of Wight.
I gave up the blog, though I continued to write. There is an unfinished novella I wrote in my early twenties in my drawer. I was working an incredibly dull reception job without even access to the internet. So I wrote. I printed it out a few years back. Derivative, melodramatic, some parts I could barely read for embarrassment, but there is also the occasional moment so exact I can’t believe my twenty-something-self wrote it.
I took a creative writing class at a high school in Balham. I was always slightly nervous of the walk to the train station in the early dark of the London winter. I would stick close to the other writers as they drifted away towards their cars–Balham wasn’t yet gentrified in those days. The other writers were mostly terrible and the school was depressingly brightly lit. I would walk out blinking away the light. I only completed one term.
I would write on the bus on the way to work, sitting up high on the top deck as we wound our way across the Thames to Trafalgar Square. I wrote badly and though I still have those notebooks my handwriting is near illegible.
When I travelled through North, Central and South America I wrote a page every day. Sometimes I had to force myself, late at night after a thirty-hour bus ride, in the flickering light, fingers trembling. One day those pages will become a story
But after that I didn’t write for a long time, my creative energy was dried up by a series of life events that left me cleaned out inside, like an oyster shell.
Finally, a few years ago I started to write again. Bad poetry at first (again), then short stories. Inspired by the Language poets I discovered through ModPo, I started a conceptual poetry project on Instagram @beautyofconstraint. It was a year in the construction, another year in the writing. Finally, I had a manuscript. It’s currently looking for a home.
Now, I am working on a novel, a series of novels to be more precise. It is a tight story, a quietly-peopled bildungsroman. A place to consider what it means to be a reader,
to be a person,
to grow up.
Become an #amletter reader to hear more.
A M Woods