October 26, 2012 by musehick
Certain amount of input; certain amount of output. I think I may have said that before, and I don’t think I have ever claimed that it was ever anything particularly original that I was saying, but it bears repeating, as many paraphrased things do.
I always liked reading – it opened up so many worlds for me: reading. Now, when I first looked at creating something of my own I basically sat down and copied out my favourite dinosaur book, and I added in some puzzles and things, and I was really proud of it … I was five years old.
After this the major thing that I created was a whole world of characters, and the main part of that enterprise was the creation of said characters: I liked drawing them. Most of the stories that span out of the images I made were told by me to myself when I was playing at night and not really sleeping. The whole thing was kind of epic and pretty evolved for a kid of that age I suppose, and I cast myself as the main character. I kind of remember getting spanked for making a noise when I should have been asleep, but that shit, compared to the enterprise of imagination meant absolutely nothing.
Around the same time, wanting to own action figures of all the super heroes, and wanting to own action figures of my own characters, I actually made all the super heroes and characters I wanted by drawing them on toilet rolls – I had quite a collection and always got excited when a new toilet roll became available – funny, eh?
When I did get Star Wars action figures I had to play with them alongside other action figures that I had picked up, or rather my parents had picked up from various places, and that forced me into new fictions that weren’t pure Star Wars or pure anything. The same happened when I got Lego sets – who wants to stick with the things you can build from the instructions? Thousands of pieces all being mixed up and moved around and I learned to start telling stories – never anything much beyond fragments, but they were something.
I remember getting a typewriter and it was the most exciting thing ever. My dad had always encouraged my drawing by bringing home scrap paper from his job for me to draw on – and pictures of characters developed into comics. The typewriter arrived and I was bought a ream of paper; and then I really started writing lots; not that anything really ever got completed, but I was stretching my legs. I knew always that I was going to be an artist of some kind.
I read the bible at five from cover to cover – that pea thin paper and those huge stories on epic canvases. I read my dad’s comic books. I read the encyclopaedias with all of the Greek gods in them. I read the “Swiss Family Robinson”; “Treasure Island”; “Coral Island”; “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea”; Sherlock Holmes. All of this was laying the groundwork for what I would later become: a prolific writer.
Strangely enough though, the thing which pushed me into really becoming a writer was having a couple of art teachers who worked really hard to kill my interest in art; destroying my confidence as an artist. I was reading Kerouac at the time, and Ray Bradbury, and Aldous Huxley; and doing a massive research project on Celtic mythology, which I was fascinated by; I had started getting enough money to buy the punk records I had always wanted to own; and I was watching independent films galore on Moviedrome, presented by Alex Cox, and those arty films favoured by Channel Four. I found I had a facility with words – I could dissect books in my literature class; and I could write in the styles I was reading about without much effort.
University, not the great learning experience I expected, gave me plenty of time to drink, read, and write up a storm. The internet was still in its infancy, but I started talking to writers online and began to think of myself in that way despite anything coming at me from the naysayers.
Jump forward about ten years – the internet gave me a couple of writing sites that revolutionised my output and gave me an audience, and eventually an invitation to come to New York and my momentous decision to go, and I was away; I was reading to people and I knew I was a writer. A writer with books available. And now? Well , it’s kind of like it has always been … creativity is as natural as breathing.