An Uneducated Author….

A lover of books all of my 48 years, I’m trying to remember when that first gifted moment was that I discovered the joy of reading. As a four year old girl, I adored picture story books where the colorful characters told most of the story. I thought I would miss those types of books at age seven as I moved on to those without pictures, but as my own imagination developed, the pictures in my mind were beautifully explicit, leading me on to my real love of reading.
 My Dad, an uneducated man, loved reading and he would encourage myself and my five sisters to read the newspapers, telling us the importance of current affairs. He also liked to play a ‘Capital’s’ game with us, where every Friday he would ask each of us the names of the capital cities from around the World. He would then go and buy us our favorite weekly magazine that he had pre-ordered in our local shop. The beautiful glossy magazines would have each of our six names written on the covers.
 I was happy to leave school at sixteen and get a job as a hairdresser. There wasn’t an option to go to college. It just wasn’t the done thing in the north side of Dublin city, so I didn’t feel I missed out on anything.
I gave hairdressing my best shot for almost thirty years, but something didn’t feel right. I just couldn’t be successful at it and I wanted success in my life. Success in the sense of a secured income from my own job. I couldn’t get that from hairdressing.
 Towards the latter few years, I found myself writing thoughts down on little scraps of paper and popping them into my bedside locker. I didn’t know exactly what I intended to do with them but the thoughts or words were the inspirational kind. Sometimes they were words that my little girl Yasmin would say that made me smile, or sometimes it was information I had just heard from someone on the radio. Sometimes they would be words and thoughts of my own that I had to write down immediately, in case I lost them from my memory for ever.
 I knew after I had read a great book, in the back of mind I would think ‘Wouldn’t it be great to be able to write like that?’ But I knew for sure that I wouldn’t know where to start. That I didn’t have the skill nor the education.
Until one day, three years ago almost to the day, I got all of my pieces of paper and notebooks from my bedside locker and I began.
 One thing that I noticed about me through my life was that I always had an opinion about things. The Human Being’s plight had an impression on me. I was and still am, truly touched by the unfairness of racialism, the suffering of the poor and the destruction of their life at the hands of their murderous leaders.  I would often phone radio hosts with my opinions until I realized, that I should probably write these communications down as I also would have the chance to express my words properly.
One of the things that had prevented me from writing in the past was my technology skills. Where would I start writing on my computer? What section? I didn’t have ‘Word’ on my apple, so I chose I-writer. I found that I was able to type chapters and then save them onto the computer. Fab! I couldn’t believe my luck! It was working! I kept re-checking the files to be sure I hadn’t lost any of my precious words and it was all systems go. I wrote about my own personal struggles and growth in my life. The words flowed and I was quite amazed at that. I was amazed also to find that it wasn’t a bad story. In fact, it was a little good!
When it came for me to copy my story onto a disc and send it to a publisher, I unplugged my whole computer and brought it down to a very amused lad in the computer shop in my local mall saying “Please copy this for me!”
Three years on and my writing and my computer skills have improved!
 I’ve found my passion in life is now writing and as I write my stories,  I’m doing so from the eye of a reader. I feel in my gut if something is repetitive and unhelpful.
I also know how to use ‘word’ and my only delay from attaching and saving files is our sometimes unreliable network!
 It’s true what they say about learning from your mistakes and the computer is such a great tool in that words are easily erased and re-written, unlike the hand written books of past authors from not too many years ago!
I can see that I’m improving with each piece I write and I aspire to be a great writer.  My regular blogs are about life in general and are informative and sometimes even funny!
There is a whole world of talent out there and it’s hard to get your work noticed, but there’s room for us all. I like to take note of some inspirational quotes to keep me focused and motivated and one of my favorite is Walt Disney’s (shortened version) “When you do something, do it well! Do it so well, that people will want to re-visit it time and time again!”
Jean Murray

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