“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God
ever turned out and sent rambling.” (Ray Bradbury)
Which makes me a rambling fool since my youngest days.
I was the kind of kid – precocious, serious-minded, eldest of four – that should have worn prescription glasses, peering at the world in giddying magnification. Yet my eyesight was good enough to allow me to be both bookish and Tom-boyish. When not reading my way through the entire contents of the small library in the Cheshire village where we lived, I spent a lot of time up trees, swinging from trees, picking out gravel from my knees, pulling wings off mayflies. Subsequent house moves consigned all the playlets, poems, crumbling Limericks, letters to Jackie magazine, runaway notes, tender outpourings to the bin.
After all, nothing much happens when you’re a kid. Right?
Tastes possibly influenced by or development stunted by the fare offered at the village library, I singularly failed to grasp Beowulf, Conrad, Melville, Burrows at University and exited by the back door, degree certificate stuffed in the same trash can.
“You must write every single day of your life”, Bradbury says. Which I did. I do. Not necessarily down on paper but in my head, searching out, say, just the right word to describe the mix of something, the colour of something, the tilt of something. Not so much, Why are you looking at me like that, as, How are you looking at me like that? I always thought I’d make a good police witness, but I’d have to tell you about the peeling plane trees, the smell of cheap cooking oil, the maimed pigeons before we got to the crux of the crime.
Now, my stopping place is a five acre small-holding in North Wales where I’m building a tree house for that kid and her foolish, rambling ways.