I have enjoyed writing my entire life and I still have my diaries from when at Infant school. They are mainly about food and the most interesting aspect is the spelling. I do not know when I learnt to read. On my first day at school I do remember being given a book and being able to read it. I think my sister must have taught me.
Our house always had books. Money was scarce but we lived near a little library and every week we struggled home with carrier bags of stories. Jumble sales were another good source. Most Saturdays we would find a sale and if you arrived late, you could buy dozens of paperbacks for just a few pennies. We built up an eclectic collection and I became a compulsive reader.
I shared a bedroom with my sister and we spent many contented hours lounging on our beds, eating sweets and reading. Many a time I would be impatiently waiting for her to finish a book so that I could read it.
There was once the excitement of her deciding that a book was ‘unsuitable’ for me! We were on a family camping holiday and I overheard my mother and sister discussing ‘Run Baby Run’ by Nicky Cruz and deciding that I was too young to read it. I had to feign many headaches in order to avoid activities and read it in stolen snippets whenever no one was looking. It is by far, the most exciting reading experience of my life!
By the time I was eleven, I had consumed a steady diet of Enid Blyton, Alistair Maclean and Charlotte Bronte. With our heads full of stories, it was inevitable that we would write. Our bedroom had a little wooden desk with spindly blue metal legs and a lift-up lid. Inside were mainly erasers we had stuck pencils into, ink filled blotting paper and a few broken pencils. However, I felt very grand when sitting on a wobbly stool that was too high and writing at that desk. I think it belonged to my sister, so I was probably not supposed to use it. I may have been an annoying child.
Anyway, we wrote. Our father was a butcher and we had a constant supply of off-coloured paper that he used to wrap the meat in. We would cut it to size and fold it into books, writing with pencils that had been sharpened with a sharp butcher’s knife. I wrote about pixies and fairies and princesses (Enid was obviously a heavy influence!) The books were always for my little brother, who never read them because they were not about football. My dolls were a better audience.
As I grew older, my diaries became longer and I began to channel my darker thoughts into poems. As a primary school teacher, I made up stories for my classes. Eventually, I finally wrote a ‘proper’ book. It has sat in the filing cabinet for several years.
When in his mid forties, my father stopped being a butcher, went to college and became what he was probably always meant to be: a Baptist minister. There was an increase of religious tomes in the house and we learnt that it is possible to change the course of your life when you are more than half way through.
I am now feeling slightly braver and I want to know if anyone other than my dolls (and my husband) enjoys reading what I write. This website is an attempt to do that. I have a kaleidoscope of stories and novels in my head, now is the time to record them in words. I value your feedback so please leave comments either on the website or on my linked facebook page. Do my poems touch your emotions? Does a short story make you laugh out loud? Do your children enjoy the children’s stories? Please help me to improve.
I write under the name Anne E Thompson in an attempt to embarrass my children as little as possible (they can deny all knowledge if they wish.) If you want to use any of my work, for example when reading with children or in a church magazine, please include Anne E Thompson as the author. Should you ever feel something is worth paying for, please consider making a donation to Tearfund at tearfund.org . They will use the money wisely. My sister has already had some of her work published. You can find examples on ‘ruthdalyauthor.blogspot.ca’.
2017, I need to add an update to this. You, the readers of my blog, have been very kind and I now have several people who follow my blog. I write regularly – at least once a week and more often when I’m doing something interesting (like visiting homes in the slums of Delhi). I have also published some books. This has been hugely rewarding and incredibly scary. Mostly scary, if I’m honest. But there is little point in writing unless I am read, and books are what I write. Thank you, sincerely, for reading them.