So many girls and women in my story: it’s overflowing with them. Blonde, brunette, red headed- all of them serious. And fathers and daughters- absent fathers and present fathers: it’s all the same in the end. They thread their way through the girlhood self-narrative like clumsy stitching. These women are artists, scribblers, diarisers, poets, novelists- to varying degrees- the best a published author, never populist, but in print; the worst a writer of terrible, cliché poems about sexual desire. And then there is me, who has the biography of a writer- the miserable childhood, in which survival relied upon the reading of others, de-coding their double speak; the voracious book reading, classics all devoured like so much breakfast cereal by the age of eleven; the early attempts at poetry, aged 9 and later, the implausible short stories with nuggets of gold; the love of language, leading to the first class degree in literature at a good university where a published author lecturer nurtured and nudged raw amoebic talent; the urge to write, to speak, to sculpt, to capture, to understand; seeing the profound in the mediocre every day, measuring time in sentences, paragraphs and chapters instead of minutes, hours and days- but the novels don’t come, they won’t write themselves. Life comes. And now, even when history is at my feet, begging me to write it, I see only a basket of snakes, weaving in and out, hypnotising me- I cannot even see which tail belongs to which head. I could become a snake charmer, but a snake charmer is not a writer.



Filed under Creative, Musings on Life, Personal Growth

12 responses to “Biography

  1. Oh how easy it is to be wise for others (yuck) but I am prompted to say write your own story, from your earliest memories. Write it *only* for yourself (or perhaps for one other person – an imagined empathetic stranger perhaps), and tell the story as if it all happened to someone else. Perhaps this way the snakes will untangle themselves and it will lead to something that you can re-write with different names and settings. This post alone demonstrates what a wonderful writer you are.

    • Thank you for those words of advice…I know you are right about writing it for myself. It is when I try to look over my shoulder that I lose the threads…I will keep chasing those snakes and who knows….the encouragement is appreciated.

  2. Face, I enjoyed your post. I really loved your last line. It inspired this 100 word short. Keep writing.

    For you:

    “A snake charmer is not a writer.”

    Elinor gathered her basket and flute.

    On hot days, children seemed compelled to stroke the cool dry bellies of her dancing snakes. A hot day was good for business.

    And Elinor needed food money. People paid to see a mediocre snake dance. No one paid for even the best of words.

    But she couldn’t resist tucking a scrap of paper and a pencil stub inside her waistband. She knew poetry could strike unbidden and bite deep.

    And she knew that it was her words that made the snakes dance. Not her flute music.

  3. Firstly, I am so glad you have returned, welcome back. I do so miss your ‘face’ around here. You words are pleasing to the senses, don’t be hypnotised by the snakes, for they know not the real you and what you are capable of. Writing is for us and the reader, write when you feel it in you to do so. Grab that Muse and let ‘life’ slip by for a few moments at a time and kick that basket the hell out of here. 🙂 Hugs xx

  4. One day at a time
    that pen will flow
    the snake will dance
    to your quilt’s charm
    Oh Faceathewindow
    the muse will knock
    at your door!

  5. Pingback: charmer (MICRO-fiction #22) | Alice Keys

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