Writing – How I started writing and my first project – ‘Reality Dreams’.
I started writing ‘seriously’ (ha-ha) in 1970. I was in my final year of college and realised that I had a great desire to be creative. I had absolutely no desire to seek a career and earn money; I did not want to fit in with a society that I despised.
I tried doing some art and greatly enjoyed myself. I could see myself as the starving artist in the garret, happily daubing away. I rapidly saw that it was not going to enable me to make ends meet even on a starvation level so I kept that as a sideline. Writing seemed a good way forward. I had a head full of ideas, great passion and I thought it was easy. Everyone could write, right? All you needed were the notions and I had them in spades. I was not after wealth and fame, an audience and modest income sufficient to keep me and my partner – nothing extravagant. I thought it would be a breeze.
I was so wrong.
I had this concept for a first book (Reality Dreams) – a series of vignettes that slotted together like a jigsaw that told the story of my main character – one Messny Krapbutt – complete with poems, cartoons, art and strange interludes. It started with the egg and sperm and proceeded to death. The book had three parts. The first was Messny’s life, the second was god, infinity and the universe, and the third was surreal (as if the other two sections were not).
I considered it extremely radical, highly original and a multidimensional masterpiece. I was passionate and enthusiastic and bent everybody’s ears until they were sick of my spoutings on infinity and mysticism.
Confidently I sent it off to various publishers and received a bunch of rejection slips – some bland and one scathing – he could detect nothing interesting in my writing style and I should stop right away.
It was salutary but it did not put me off. Even when my friends read my written work and found the process tough, I was undeterred. I tried to look objectively at what I had done and I could see that maybe the writing was pedestrian and there was no evident narrative to pull people in to the story. I had a lot to learn.
It was obvious that I was not going to get my first book published and my dream of earning a scant living from my writing faded. Reality was not dreaming; it was knocking at my door. I had a wife, son and need of a secure income. I went in to teaching to bide me over until I could get my writing ‘career’ off the ground. It was to be a brief interlude.
In hindsight my first effort ‘Reality Dreams’ was a typical sixties bit of crazy metaphysical rambling; typical of its time. It was unpublishable even as a sixties ramble.
I have since rewritten it (back in the 1990s, still on typewriter) which has improved the writing but could not do anything about the concept and structure.
At the moment it sits as two volumes of typed script. I am quite attached to it for nostalgic reasons. One day I will type it up digitally and publish it for my own interest.
Reality Dreams was a toe in the water.