If you’ve been playing along at home, you’ll know that 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’ve been publishing our favourites every Thursday this month. Well done to those who wrote in and shared your stories – we love how different they all are! Enjoy…
It started as a crush, rather harmless. A puppy love if you will. I first noticed books when I was around 5, little Golden Books, and from there my crush grew and blossomed into something more. But I wasn't satisfied just reading from a distance… No. I had to write up close. And I did, for years and years. I still do love writing. Admittedly, it is a forbidden romance, my family doesn't take it seriously, doesn't think it will provide for me. I'll show them. Writing and me. We'll be happy together. One day they'll see…
– Crystal Beaini
I was 22,
I just broke up with my girlfriend, it was my second time… breaking up with someone,
I suck at it, not that I want to be good at it… but, if I was… ya know?!
Anyway, I had trouble sleeping, I stumbled across this ‘sleep meditation' on YouTube, turns out it was an ‘inner child, rediscovery' thing, I left the meditation realising how much I loved creating stories, in fact! I had a story in my head right then…
Now, I capture those stories, and I found a love I never have to break up with.
– Anthony Ivanov
Born a Chinese in Malaysia, Writing is not a priority, survival is. However, there is a mystery in Writing's seduction, providing an escape to share my desires, dreams, doubts or fear without being judged. Like a pet, It loves without conditions.
I reciprocated loving Writing when I realised that my secrets were safe, It won't tell if I don't share with anyone else. And the more time I relax in Its company, the more It gives in return with insights, thoughts, reflections and just time to catch my breath. What is there not to love, Happy Valentine my beloved Writing!
– May Chang
Our first kiss was fireworks. Not the kind of fireworks that struck awe; these fireworks sent a life of uncertainty soaring through the skies.
Fourteen is a hard age. Pen and paper had been my outlet through years of angst. But it all changed in one moment in class. I heard my words read out loud and saw the way they touched people. I suddenly knew why I'd always felt empty until that day.
It was our first date, our first touch, but more importantly, it was the last day that I was lost. We've been together ever since.
– Sharday Hoppe
It began when I was 10. Mum gave me a copy of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Not only did I become an instant reader, but I immediately thought: “I can do this. Constructing words and sentences to make stories. I love this.” I began at once. I made my first serious effort at a novel when I was 19. I completed a novel, for the first time, when I was 22. I am still writing novels, still chasing the dream of being published and reaching people. But in the chase is the purest expression of love.
– Joshua Beer
In primary school we were asked to write a story about Guy Fawkes Night. Mine was about the sadness of a firework that failed to go off on the night. But next morning two boys found the damp Catherine Wheel, dried it out, and that night, set it spinning. It was the much admired sole firework on the night after Guy Fawkes. The story won a prize and, writing won me. That was seventy years ago, and ever since, words have been spinning in my head, producing stories, plays, lyrics and copy; lighting up my life. Giving me a life.
– Brian Young
I fell in love with writing accidentally. Actually – that's not true, as it's difficult to put pen to paper without concentrated, deliberate mental effort.
More accurately, I fell in love with writing by necessity. When you talk a million miles an hour, struggle to keep your mouth closed for the duration of an ad break, eventually that communication has to turn non-verbal.
I'm the kid who lived inside her head, who imagined worlds and stories barely capable of cohesive explanation. Asked, “What are you thinking about?”, 4-year-old-me replied “life”.
I fell in love with writing, to be heard.
– Ruby Yeats
You weren't my first love. I wish you had been now, but we got separated early by miles and miles of time and fear. You see you scared me back when I was sixteen. I wrote so deeply and intimately and put onto paper the pain in my heart and my soul that when I reread it I thought it best that my family and friends and teacher and the world not know of what blackened my life lest they also fear for me. So, I put you at a distance and shut you out. But here you are again my love.
– Linda Sultmann
The book jacket was colourful. This surely meant, despite being over three hundred pages, with no illustrations, that it must be a children's book.
“You're too young,” said my mother.
I was five, and I was damned if I was ‘too young'.
Unfamiliar words and dense prose defeated me, but I kept coming back to struggle, sensing magic ahead – and each time I failed.
Months passed, and still I came back. A year.
And then, just like young Arthur pulling that blade, I pulled meaning from this rock of a book – and entered T.H. White's The Sword in The Stone.
– Ben Marshall
Frozen in fear for a vast many years I hid from my love. What if I was not good enough for his eloquent ways, the air of class and sophistication he wore as a sumptuous cape? I ignored his pleas for attention, turned away and lived a life full of other distractions. The full-time joy of motherhood; beautiful, fulfilling, now changing to allow time to think, to turn back to the one who had once captured my creative mind. Now, with excuses fading as with the end of day I run to that which I ran from in fear.
– Lisa Cornish
We first met it in school, an arranged relationship, one that was an arduous struggle for me and frustrating for my new companion. You see, being creative and thespian, having wild dreams and lofty expectations didn't necessarily equate to a lustful passionate coupling. There were nights of tedium and angst, followed by days of judgement and sometimes ridicule. It wasn't until we were free from the constraints of conformity that we grew and took uninhibited risks. A warm friendship emerged and now the tentacles of love penetrate the neurons of my brain giving me reprieve from the seriousness of life.
– Lisa Green
Year 7 English. Process writing. The freedom to write what I wanted. Teacher couldn't be bothered. Puberty throbbed through me like a jungle beat.
“Who do you like Ashley?”
“I like Corey.”
“Really? Yeah, he's so hot. What do you want to do when you grow up?”
“I wanna be an astronaut.”
Nodding. I can work with that. The pen caresses the page. I detail a love affair between my friend, her crush and her dream life. A romance blossoms at NASA.
Little did I know that I was falling deeply in love myself.
“Who do you like?”
Not who. It's a what. And it's love.
– Marnie Etheridge
We met in a room full of spotty schoolgirls. It was love at first sight. I was studying that year's set reading material when writing gave me a nudge. “Together we could shake the world! Put this rubbish out of your life, dispose of it, we can do better!
I listened, I agreed. Writing was charming, alluring, I succumbed, I scribbled all over the boring pages. Shakespeare had never been so sullied, but I believed what writing said. I was lost.
I got an order mark and was sent to detention for ruining school property.
– Isabel Wallace
“It was a dark and stormy night…”
Ah, the rubbish I read snuggled up in bed with my head under the covers with a torch, long after my parents had said “lights out.”
First came my love of escape to another world, then later, an overwhelming urge to create places of my own, stories with a twist, anecdotes with humour.
So reading was my first love, and I share him now with another love. A beautiful menage a trois and of course, a happy ending.
– Astrid Thompson
The lady in her black-rimmed square glasses had her dark eyes glued to the clock hanging at the far end of the class.
The music started playing as the hour hand struck twelve.
My sweaty fingers reluctantly dropped the blue ballpoint pen onto the sheet of words.
An hour later, we had returned to our seats for the continuation of the descriptive writing class.
“So we have a writer amongst us”, she said, adjusting her conspicuous glasses which were too large an accessory for her small circular face.
And she starts reading out loud…
My heart skipped a beat.
– Usha Amudan
We met as young children in the classroom, my teacher insisting we be friends. She said our play was imaginative, but parental influence targeting success and the mighty buck would see us grow distant. You lingered in hidden journals and poetry, but my focus was forced to technology and ties not constantly nurtured become undone.
After decades of a tenuous link, opportunity came knocking, or was it you? The rope of career severed, time to discover my passion was available. You pushed your way into my periphery until I couldn't ignore you anymore. Our love is a work in progress.
– Debbie Gravett
My writing is an extension of two parts of me: who I am and who I want to become. My first stories were about the future: a place that was better. I wrote about heroines who were perfected versions of me. They weren't growing up in the midst of trauma and chaos like I was. I also wrote diary entries, poetry and songs to help me cope with the trauma and chaos of being black, poor, and having a mentally unstable parent. Somehow I'm still here. I even made it through school and University. Writing was therapy. Writing was love.
– Bre A.
It all started when we got a massive desktop computer. I opened Word and the ideas started flowing to me. I would write not only on the computer but in exercise books I found anywhere and everywhere. Notepads. Journals. My arm. To this day I've been in love with writing. We've been sweethearts for years and it'll stay that way forever. I can tell the stories I want to hear. I can experience things that would never happen to me in real life. It has a special place that is close to my heart.
– Lauren Darcy
An outback childhood left me too shy to join discussions about boyfriends and clothes in university college. I looked up at stars and prayed for love.
At Australian Youth Orchestra, a handsome violinist signalled his interest by gazing open-mouthed at me during rehearsals. Antoni bought me an unaccustomed lunch cocktail. Before launching into the high clarinet solo, I winked at him. He lost his place in the music.
Before Skype and emails, “snail” letters cemented our long-distance romance. I waited weeks for Antoni's first missive, which consisted of a cross word puzzle centred around my name. Who could resist that?
– Ruth Bonetti
Green was not really green. Reds and Pinks were faded, colour drained out. Purple did not exist.
I unloaded a pencil, broke it down to a nub. Uncovered in led a new spectrum of colour.
My hearing returned. Ears ecstatic as they heard unnatural, alien things. The sound of other people's voices! To every person and being I no longer felt apart. I no longer fell apart.
I had thought myself floating, partially submerged in a limitless ocean. Now I was in space on the moon, somersaulting and totally free in gravity. The ocean was not limitless, I was.
– Alex Ternezis
One of my earliest and most treasured memories is irrevocably associated with strong aftershave. I was four years old, and a relative from Ireland was living with us. He'd stuck around for longer than planned, since he'd taken a shine to a young lady a few doors down, hence the aftershave. To compensate for outstaying his welcome, he had a habit of buying gifts for us children. One day, it was a paperback copy of The Hobbit. Later, he asked me if I wanted to read another story like it. I told him I wanted to create one.
– Mark Aspinall
“Kaitlan, please see me after class about your paper.” I shuddered. My seventh-grade English teacher had a knack for intimidation and, despite my history as an exceptional student, I was a blithering idiot under her tip-top standards. “This story – superb. I read it out loud to my entire family last night and submitted it to a young writers' competition. You have a real gift, I bet you'll be an author one day.” With shock subsiding, I headed off to the next class with that warm fuzzy feeling that you've found something, a love, just for you. And so it began.
– Kate Downes
Past bedtime, under torchlight, swallowing books whole, well into each night.
Dialogue next, in the relative safety of my head, then a secret exercise book for scenes and stories. Undercover.
Once, I vomited up a poison-poem, later lauded as some sort of songwriting. My name on my story, so I ran away.
Blink. Twenty years pass.
I think, perhaps I'll write some things. Small things. Some small, good things made into small films.
And now? Finally! Homewards to my first love, petrified and thrilled and wide awake when I probably shouldn't be.
Like a girl of three.
– Sara Pensalfini
Shadowy words used to tiptoe around inside my head, keeping me awake until dawn, crying out for daylight and someone to tell their tale. Creative writing workshop advertised the local paper and so began a fifty year hunger only words could feed. Blank templates cried out for dreamtime glimmers to be nurtured and passion flowed through my now arthritic fingers as short stories materialised. Draft novels, playfully teased along chapter by chapter, provided ample opportunity for romance, although my husband was still willing. I'm mature now, never old, and writing is still the meaning of life.
– Sue Clayton
After being cajoled into meeting my son at a writers' retreat weekend, I arrived with a fist full of sharpened pencils and a gut full of butterflies. Surrounded by strangers who all seemed to know each other, I chose a seat beside the friendliest looking participant and kept the space to my left free for my son, and watched the door for his arrival. A text message informed me that he'd been held up and couldn't make it. Despite wanting to run out in a panic I stayed and, five years later, I'm still writing. Thanks son!
– Catherine Doris
I've always loved reading. “Precocious brat,” my brother would say, as I read “Squirrel Nutkin” over and over. I knew the story, some words were tricky. By the time I was four and starting school, I was a fluent reader.
I wanted to write similar stories, but it was difficult with baby fingers on large black pencils. As a lefthander, work would smudge.
With fast fingers and faster computers, I can now write a story as quickly as I can think it. To go faster, I can dictate. Lefthander, righthander, no longer matters. It's all in the love of story…
– Helen Armstrong
The first time we met you hit me like a ton of books, you were unique, funny and everyone loved you, but you didn't stick around. I was young, just a teenager and I didn't know what I had. As the years passed I saw you from time to time, popping in with a funny limerick or poem, but we both knew the time wasn't right for us. Then it happened! I found my voice and realised we are meant to be. I filled with passion as words poured from my fingertips, we are finally together, and I love you.
– Toni Austen