Recently we asked our community about their relationship with writing. In particular, “How did you first meet?”
We received hundreds of replies, and in the spirit of creative curiosity, we are publishing a new heart-warming selection of them every Thursday. We hope it inspires and reminds you of why YOU love writing… Enjoy!
When I first saw him, dressed in his dark navy suit and silver tie, I knew I had to take him home. Handing over my gold coins to the cashier, I tucked him gently into my bag.
We sat for hours together, creating stories and telling tales. The way he glided across the paper was mesmerising. Ink flowed, forming characters, settings and plots which had previously only been stored in my head.
He's older now – his once pristine navy suit a little duller. But he will always be by my side – a reminder of where my passion for writing began.
– Emma De Vito
Friday nights in 1991: Cadbury's chocolate; Smith's chips; unlimited time on the Commodore 64. Mum was lax those nights and eleven-year-old-anxiety disappeared when I discovered that I could not just read about heroines in exotic places but could actually create them. Push them towards victory, towards adventure, towards destruction: one index finger at a time. Fucking Omnipotence. Ace.
– Liz W.
She held it out to me and my mouth gaped. I hardly dared to breath in case it went away as dreams do. My small hands grasped it as I looked at her stern serious face. “I knew you could,” Mrs Elkins said quickly. In the imaginative story task, I soared – past swaying leaves, up along the air current closer, closer to the white wispy clouds, patches of green getting smaller and smaller. I looked at the mark and I hugged my book. Ten out of ten. My heart soared with pride and possibility. I was in love with writing.
– Deline Skinner
I don't recall meeting you. Mum says I came out blue, ink already in my veins. You were in my room, at the farm, stamping passports to other worlds on the wing of a word. And it was you who held me when Pop fell backwards playing tennis and slipped through our net. You have no beginning or end, you've met me at every major intersection. I open my veins and the stories spill out.
– Carmen Cluskelly
As a child, I filled notebooks with words. I read books of quotations for fun. I transcribed song lyrics. I delighted in word-play from movies and advertisements. I subjected unsuspecting pages to ‘Dear Diary' entries. (I was besotted.)
In adulthood, my love affair with writing did not diminish but the time I could devote to it did. (It's not you, it's me.)
I continued saving words in various places. This wasn't enough. (I needed commitment.)
It was time to rekindle the love and make it formal. (Put a ring on it.)
So I started a blog. (It feels write.)
– Seetha Nambiar Dodd
By my late teens I had become frustrated by shaving regularly. Over some months my reflections on what I saw as an arduous task, resulted in some phrases and rhymes intermittently coming to mind. Gradually this exercise in my head became a source of amusement as the various strands of a poem began to form. I wrote the strands down and put some effort into assembling them into a coherent poem. By the time I completed the poem I had fallen in love with the joy of using words to entertain and tell the story of a simple everyday act.
– Darryl Wilson
I met my love at seventeen in Mr Prosser's English class. It started as a high school crush, but soon I became entranced, possessed, consumed by delight and discovery.
Mr Prosser of the twinkly eyes and crinkly hair, in his billowy back gown, encouraged this affair.
I loved him too. We all did.
– Lily Cole
My brother was holding us transfixed with amazing stories. He had fought air pirates in the clouds, rescued maidens from evil villains, travelled to exciting places including far flung galaxies.
One day I saw him scribbling madly in his notebook.
“What are you doing?”
“Writing a story.”
“One of your travels?”
He stared at me.
“They are stories you know, they aren't true. When would I have time?”
I was shocked.
“So you just make them up and write them down?”
“Yep. You could do it too if you wanted.”
And so began my love affair with writing.
– Pauline Rimmer
I became aware of you as a girl, oblivious to the power and influence you would have on my life. You started as a distraction which became a comfort and later a longing need. You were an escape from wild things as you took me on adventures only imaginable. Some days I have difficulty connecting with you leaving me frustrated. Other times I find it hard to resist attacking you with fervour. Times like this the world dissipates and I emerge in the wee hours of the morning feeling both wretched and satiated. The fickle and enduring love of writing.
– Michelle Kiag
Aly got me this journal for my birthday. […] Today was very, very, very, very fun!!!
[…] and she lied. LIED! She's supposed to be my FRIEND and she just LIES??!!
[…] I wish I could find the words to explain […] it's like I want to paint the sun, but yellow doesn't exist. […]
The grey-black clouds crowd above buildings – I've forgotten about sky. I wish it would just rain, instead it hangs over my head choking out inconsistent, confused spatters […]
– Julia Roen
Love for my babies excavated my storytelling itches. We made up stories, Chris, Anna and I. I made little books; they illustrated them. One favourite was Little Rat, they always joined in with the ending: “She loved him just because.” We had fun together. The itch lodged. In the shower, walking on the beach, I would think of stories. It was an amiable experience to meet my characters then write their story. Time to improve my skills with courses, and writing groups. Lots of short stories and half a novel later here I am in a new world.
– Louise Burch
Science was my passion. Bunsen burners and tripods were too hot to handle. But then, like any heated relationship, the fire started to diminish and I was searching for someone, something, to fill a void. I'd call it a creative void. Yes, science does need an element of creativity to solve problems, but the spark wasn't there for me anymore. Then I picked up a pen. I started to think of widely impossible things like time machines and mind switching body experiences. I think I started flirting with science fiction. I took off the goggles and saw a new world ahead of me, and never looked back.
– Melissa Gerke
Sadness. Self-loathing. Depression.
Millions of people experience these emotions every day. Daily pain and anguish need to be written about, documented and internalised, to bring someone back from despair.
Drinking the pain away was only destructive, therefore, I wrote about how I felt. I incorporate solutions which help me cope, hoping that it will help others.
Not only does it help to know others experience the same emotions as you, it also helps to write about the pain you feel.
It's cathartic. It's expressive. It's human.
– Dylan Goodwin
My love affair with writing started in primary school with a fountain pen – the ink flowing on the page made it a slow process compared to my thoughts which were rapid.
It felt special making those sloping letters into words and short stories.
I would be picked to read out my essays for the class which then continued into high school where I would read to the whole school stories or opinions I had written. Today if I write to the papers or send an article to a magazine, they print what I write. I love that.
– Bronwyn O'Flanagan
Your silver lock seduced me with the promise of secrets you could hold.
Your satin pages provocative, beckoning for mysteries yet untold.
My pen danced as I traced my hopes, my fears; my soul engages.
My psyche impressed on you with ink, entwined within your pages.
I try today to mould you, massage you with each keystroke late into the night.
I tap away slowly at first, then quicken my caress as each epiphany unravels with delight.
You antagonise with your allegory and dénouement not yet won.
We surrender only when you climax and when my word count is done.
– Samantha Sutton
I was a child, just a child, who went to thirteen schools. We met in the back row of whatever school I was attending at the time, the outsider, always different. I had a good line in staring out the window and imagining stories where I saved the people, fought the good fight, discovered new lands and planets, discovered worlds where I was still distanced in my otherness but loved. And then I met you. I picked up my pen, and I wrote down my stories. Nothing's changed. You are still my first love.
– Jill Gientzotis
It started off as a summer fling. Simple as that. No strings attached.
Bored during the summer holidays, I decided to try something new. Just for fun.
I was charmed by artistic expression and seduced with creative empowerment. Thus began my own secret love story, full of stolen kisses and midnight rendezvous.
When school started back I found myself unable to move on. The taste of my secret summer affair lingered and left me craving more. But, when people asked what I did during my holidays, I just sighed and lied through my teeth, “oh, nothing exciting”.
– Hannah Richards
Reading was my first love, my most effective teacher. Reading has allowed me to vicariously experience friends, enemies, customs, journeys, dangers, battles, dragons, fear, bravery, disappointment and joy.
Storytelling was my second love. Hiding truths in recounts, like grandma used to hide coins in our Christmas pudding, was an instinctive way to impart to my kids the important stuff of life.
And then came writing, my last great love, born of the others but which grows tall over their deep roots. Writing haunts my dreams, hijacks my time, tickles my creativity and satisfies the bass notes of my longings.
– Tracy Staples
My true love has always lived within me. But once, he made himself known after I'd just written my first-ever story. I had heard a mysterious voice: “Write. Write more.”
“All you need to know, is that I'll be with you forever. I'll help you express all of the things you've ever wanted to in written word. I'll have your back when the world doesn't. I'll give you an escape.” Capeesh?”
“Capeesh,” said my younger self.
As time passed, I fell in love with this entity inside my head. Our partnership was beautiful.
And we're still going strong.
– Gemma Crotty
Writing became my first love just after I started school.
It was a consistent friend for me in a time when nothing else was consistent in my little life.
As long as I could find something to write with and on, I felt complete.
It was safe to write. When I was told I was too loud or too much, I could channel my energy, my thoughts and daydreams into a story.
I could be quiet and compliant, for those around me, even though a circus was taking place between my thoughts and my pencil with each word I wrote.
– Samantha Bright
Mrs Bray was my primary school teacher, whom I adored. She was so kind and reliable, a figure of consistency and calm for me. She gave us a task to write a story, and enticed us to complete the assignment with a competition prize. The winner would earn themselves a pen with their name inscribed on it ! It was my first story attempt, and I didn't win, but I got shortlisted. I shared with Mrs Bray that the story about my Grandfather who I loved dearly, had introduced me to books, reading and all things ‘words'. The moment reduced us both to heartfelt tears, me being just a mere 8-9 years old. Mrs Bray gently touched my arm and told me I would go far writing with my sentimental heart. I had truly found my love in that moment.
– Jody Harper
Primary school was the era of my love for writing, or when I first started to develop an interest in it. Had a great teacher (Mrs Smith) who every week would give us three random cards. One being a character, one being the setting, and one being an event (such as a meteor strike). I loved whenever it was Wednesday, where I could cast my creative mind into the paper and create stories.
That's how I've tripped and fell for Writing, falling into her outstretched arms.
– Ben Marshall
Love and vulnerability go hand in hand. My love for writing was no different, arising in a period of vulnerability and offering offered a hand to pull me out of the dark.
On a warship, there's nowhere to be alone. I was struggling with a plethora of issues; grief, guilt, anxiety and frustration all piling on top of one another, each exacerbating the others with an exponential impact.
Writing gave me a place to be alone, if only in my head. It was my therapy and my sanity. I'm a better person for it, and I've loved writing ever since.
– Nathan Phillips
It frightens me how close we came to missing each other. If Teacher had manufactured a different topic, we might have passed by on life's elevator. I might never have fallen so much in love with you.
I was eight. It was early February. The smell of the new exercise book, the exquisite sharpness of my pencil and the purity of the page flood back to mind.
Composition, this wonderful thing was called. The task was to describe a day in the life of a penny. Bliss! Thus began a lifelong love affair with writing.
– Rhonda Hyder
There she sat, the word, that lively font, full of innuendo, nuance, pause and cadence, a still point gushing levity, trickling pathos, a spray of colourful adventure in black and white; there sat I, aged seven, on the cusp of her serif, sans sense, sensitive to her every fiction, addicted to her diction, a spectator soaking in that stream of eloquence, reading a sentence for life; we met and she sat in my eye, trickled into my mind, until, full fantasising, I wrote, I became her, and she became me and we were one; O, my word, my truth!
– Graeme Compton