Serenity. No, not the film. I feel a sense of calm right now. A false sense of calm. And yet not so.
On Friday at 4:30pm I finished the first draft of my first complete novel. (OK, I’m going to start crying because I wasn’t sure I could ever do this and now it’s done.) It’s such a relief. I think it’s just something you have to experience yourself.
I learned to write when I was about 5. My brother was two years ahead of me in school so when he started, I took to tagging along when he did his homework. I remember having my own small practise notebook on which I drew these strange symbols. My hands have always shaken a bit because of essential tremor, so writing, by hand, was never really easy for me. Of course the more I did it, the more practised I was, but still I sometimes can’t make out half the words I doodle if I’m tired, hungry or mostly asleep.
When I turned 7, the Spring before I started school, I got this beautiful diary as a birthday present. Its pages are pink and edged with gold and you can tie it shut with a pink ribbon. When I was 8, I wrote my first poems. I’ve been raised on a steady diet of Kirsi Kunnas and lots and lots of other children’s books that included poems, so the format wasn’t strange for me.
At school I always excelled in Finnish, I love grammar and everything to do with it. My teachers noted this and in my third year, I was lucky enough to get 3/4 of the school year with a teacher who had just graduated. We were her first ever class and even though I’d liked school before, she made me love it. Her ideas were far beyond the ideas of the other, older teachers in the school. I was inspired.
I remember crying that Spring when I knew the teacher would not return in the Autumn. But though the next teacher was not as innovative or as fresh from school, she loved grammar and the Finnish language probably as much as I do. An old school mate with whom I talked recently told me how he hated the way the teacher sometimes decided that since the weather was too horrible for PE, we’d have an extra Finnish lesson instead. I remember the opposite. I was so relieved.
I wrote essays for school and when we changed to upper form in year 7, I took the voluntary creative writing class and enjoyed that too. Writing was the one class, besides other languages, which made me feel I was really good at something. I really don’t know if I was, but I was proficient in grammar and my teachers were really encouraging, so thank you, Finnish school system, well done on that!
My dad writes. He even rented a small room in a student ridden old house to get to do it in peace. My mum reads. A lot. More than me, which is saying something. I’ve always felt there was nothing wrong with my desire to make up stories and put them on paper, arranging the words in the most effective way possible.
Yesterday, suffering from a bout of hangover over the finishing of the draft… and other stuff… I did not open the computer at all. But I did browse the net on my phone and found an old LiveJournal blog of mine (see, I’m not ashamed to link it here). It’s theme is, surprise, writing and I found that the idea for the story I finished on Friday came to me in December 2008. A lot of stuff has happened since then. I’ve had years of not touching the story. But it’s finished now.
Even if it never gets published, I’m really proud of finishing it. I feel like I accomplished something that I had been working towards since I learned to write. That’s a huge amount of time and a really big accomplishment. Well done, me!
This post has turned into a “random rambling” for which I have a separate folder on my computer and also on Novlr.
My brain rebooted last night. I slept about 10 hours and lay in bed for 12. I kept visiting consciousness during the night with ideas on how to edit and hone the text and I’m really looking forward to doing that. Now I’m going to press “publish”, however incoherent this post has been and then open Novlr and start editing!