It chooses you
When I was 15 my parents did something that would change my life more than they realized at a price that was far exceeding what they could afford to do.
In year 8 I received a good mark ( my teacher was overwhelmed with love for my sick lit non fiction spinal surgery story. I got two stars and an A plus plus) for a text response essay for the book by John Marsden Letters From The Inside. I wrote about the isolation of being a young person in hospital. Teachers LOVE that shit.
My parents found out that John Marsden was doing a creative writing camp at a private boarding school over summer holidays. It was expensive. My parents asked if I wanted to go. They said it could be payment for all the work I do around the house and the big help i am with my younger siblings also it would be my christmas gift.
I got to spend two weeks participating in intensive writing work shops with kids who actually went to private schools and also who were going on from this expensive summer holiday camp to other expensive summer holiday activities like island resorts and skiing. It was so fun and also awakened my class consciousness a bit.
When I finished year 12 I wrote to him and even sent him three hand written pieces of my writing. I was desperate to be this thing and was devastated at my bad year 12 results and felt like i would never be good enough or rich enough to do this thing that made me feel so much happiness and freedom in a world i just didn’t think i was made for.
The writing was done at the kitchen table after cleaning up the seven person dinner mess and once everyone else was asleep.
I wish I could remember what I sent him to read. What was my Guide To Adolescence?!
I found his response kept safe and sound in one of my old journals and it made me so happy to see how far I have come. I could not believe he had responded WITH writing advice and a much needed pep talk thrown in.
I did go to Ballarat but transferred from the writing to psychology because it occurred to me as a virgin Mormon girl from a dairy Share farm (you live and work on someone else’s farm). Maybe and perhaps I didnt have anything much of importance to say just yet. Also the people in the course irritated me and I hated editing class with the fire of a thousand suns.