The simplicity and directness of language fascinated me. However, I made things hard on myself. I favoured ‘big words’ because they seemed to convey so much in such a short space of time.
For me ‘big words’ really were ‘simple’ words. It took me many years to see where I was going wrong.
Despite the seeming directness that a broad vocabulary offered, what I was really doing was alienating my peers.
Words are more complicated than I realised at the age of eight or nine. All the same, knowing what a change in word use can do makes it easier to tailor my speech and writing now.
At five years old I loved to write stories (you know the kind: you draw a colour it in (stay inside the lines!), then write a sentence underneath to make sense of it all). Teachers would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up and the answer always shifted between ‘archaeologist’ and ‘story writer’.
Eventually my love for dinosaurs was surpassed by my desire to be understood and to entertain. By my teens I had firmly decided on ‘writer’ as the end game.
It would be easy to say that I’ve always wanted to be a writer but it’s not quite true. My real motivation was to reach a point where people’s eyes wouldn’t glaze over as I spoke to them.
I would let myself hope to be interesting or entertaining but most of the time I’d settle for people remaining focused after 30 seconds.
As I entered university I also started to approach the idea of conveying ‘big ideas’. However, when I became a parent I realised that sometimes you can show big ideas with some very small actions.
The Jack Reusen books are wrapped around family and magic but the ‘big ideas’ are hidden behind that.
How important is comfort/safety? Can a full life be had without stepping away from the familiar? Who should have power? Does power imply a duty to do right by those who do not have it? Should ‘dangerous’ knowledge be locked away/hidden from others?
My desire to become a writer can be confusing to some. However, far more people seem able to sympathise with a desire to be understood.
Did you struggle to be understood as a child? Did you find your way writing as a way to get past that? Perhaps you found a different form of expression. If so, what was it? Do you find that voice helpful/therapeutic?
As always, thanks so much for stopping by this page. All the best, John