For one of my writing groups the next topic is to write something about five events which changed the course of your life, possibly little things, possibly seemingly insignificant things. I don’t think the idea is about passing or failing exams, or having a successful or unsuccessful interview, I think it’s supposed to be thinking of those seemingly insignificant things which are the seed of something monumental later. I guess it’s that butterfly flapping its wing in the ancient forest.
So what might be my five things include? I’ve thought of three… in no particular order of importance or significance:
- Norman and Henry Bones, Norman and Henry Bones. The two young cousins had a series of adventures which were broadcast on ‘Children’s Hour’ some time in the 1950’s; these radio plays may have been written by Norman Painting, best known as the radio drama character, Phil Archer. Whether they were based on the books, or whether the books were written after the success of the programmes I have no idea. It seems the books by Anthony Clifford Wilson, were published in 1953, but I don’t know when I read them. I must have been quite young, but I was reading the story, no doubt written in the manner of the time. There had been some action involving the boys and the scene changed and it wasn’t about the cousins but something else. I was startled and confused. Was it another story? Had I misread something? And then I realised that the narrative view had changed. It was all part of the story, but this time it wasn’t being written from the boys point of vies, but some unknown all-seeing narrative voice, I suddenly realised that when you write stories you can play about with the point of view, and how the action is perceived and from where – or even who. You can tell it made an impact on me, I remember it still so vividly! Not the story which involved a helicopter, but the way it was written.
- My husband has been involved in performing music since he was about nine, when he accompanied his dad who played the piano in various pubs, on a small drum kit. He has been in bands, groups, trios, pit orchestras, brass bands, jazz quartets, swing bands.. you name it he has probably been involved – pantomimes even! When we were first married he joined a rock band and they played a variety of cover versions of well-known songs; they were brilliant, all of them so talented, and I vicariously found a lot of new music through listening to their versions. There were a couple of numbers by a band I didn’t know who for some reason I thought was Welsh. When we moved away and he had to leave the band I looked up this band and borrowed a coupe of their albums from the library… I fell in love… I was hooked, enchanted, bewitched, smitten. That band was the Mavericks and through my love of their music I’ve travelled all round the country to see them perform, Cardiff, Birmingham, Oxford, Bristol, Glasgow, Belfast, Liverpool, Plymouth… and I have made friends who now are some of my closest and dearest.
- I was working on my Masters, focusing completely on what I was writing. The phone rang, and hardly thinking what I was doing because I was involved in my work,, I picked it up. A colleague from school was asking if I’d like to go out for a drink, and I inadvertently said yes… I put down the phone, cross with myself for being such an idiot… I didn’t want to go out, I had work to do… but on the other hand, I knew he liked beer, and I liked beer so at least we’d probably go to a decent pub… Nearly thirty years and two children later, I often chuckle at the thought that I might not have answered the phone!