When I was six I fell in love with writing.
I wrote poems (or pomes, as I called them) about what I saw around me –caterpillars that turned into cocoons, autumn leaves on the pavement.
Early titles were ‘A Pome’, ‘Another Pome’ and the classic, ‘A Pome Yet Again’. I moved on to princess-in-a-castle stories, endless horse riding adventures, and later pieces that brought tears to my eyes as I wrote them, surprised by the wonder of the story that was finding its way out through my pen.
I have long had a deep love and respect for the power of words and what they can release.
Later, at university, I read other people’s writing, in French, and airport blockbusters for light relief from the bleak realism and existential angst.
My first job was a fundraising role at Oxfam, where I relished the writing of communications to generous people keen to hear stories of justice, change and futures re-written.
When I left work to care for my three small children as they arrived in quick succession, we shared books in bed, on the sofa, at the kitchen table, on the bus, and in time I tried to emulate some of the great stories we shared. These attempts gave me the highest respect for those who had written books that successfully captured children’s hearts and imaginations. It’s hard.
Then back to fundraising, at Viva, where I worked to generate funding, but above all rediscovered my love of writing and editing - a process rather like jewellery-making: the cutting and polishing of other people’s writing so the light is reflected and the meaning flashes clear and bright.
When I was wondering what to call my new writing and editing venture, I wrote list after list of different ideas, taking inspiration from favourite colours, my house number, even the plum tree in my garden. But all the time, in the background, was the image of a nightingale bursting with song - and it wouldn’t leave me alone.
Sometimes words can sing.
My favourite subject is the love and faithfulness of the God I follow. Another person who felt the same way, thirty centuries ago, wrote: ‘I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever; with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations’ (Psalm 89:1)
Those words ring clear today, down through time.
By writing words down we can catch them from the air and keep them. Treasure them and pass them on to generations unseen, to children’s children not even imagined.
Unlike anything else – fabric that disintegrates, silver that tarnishes, keepsakes that decay – words can be as full of life on the day they are rediscovered as they were when they were first written.
The love affair continues.