When I was around twenty, I tried to write a novel. It was flowery, purple, and ripe with hardened teenage angst; I realise that now. At the time, it meant the world to me.
My mother was very matter of fact about it. It was good to have a hobby, but I couldn’t expect anyone to pay me for it.
I’ll be honest: it knocked my confidence. It may have been a blessing in disguise because, looking back, I know a lot more about writing these days than I did then. Nevertheless, at the time, I was devastated.
And I had no reason to believe that anyone else in the family felt differently about my literary efforts. It was cute but ultimately pointless.
I haven’t told my family about this blog. I haven’t told them about the novel I’ve been writing on the sly since October. I have been a bit of a coward.
Today, I had a Conversation with my aunt. She wished me a Happy New Year and asked after my plans for the coming months. I was unremittingly honest. I plan to release my new novel.
She was delighted, relieved to hear I’d gone back to writing. She had wondered why I’d gone to work in the shop, at the bar, at various other seeming-trivialities, because surely I knew – I should have been writing. From my conversation, from my letters, it was so clear to her that it was what I was supposed to do.
I’ve rarely been so proud.