Now that I think about it, I was probably a little naive to assume that becoming a writer would involve more ~tap tap tapping~ words than actually talking to people, more especially scary industry professionals. I guess I’d sort of convinced myself that living a quiet and peaceful existence alone with my thoughts, my laptop, David Bowie’s back catalogue, and my 27 cats* would suit my career just fine. Getting up at sunrise and skipping along the moors in a corset like some shitty Brontë wannabe. Talking and ‘networking’ with actual grown-ups weren’t exactly factored into this plan and were certainly not what I signed up for.
*I’d prefer big fluffy dogs but 27 of those might be a little excessive.
Like lots of other people, stepping outside my comfort zone is something I don’t do nearly enough and I think it’s limited me in a whole number of ways. Sometimes my lack of self-assurance has even made even the simplest of work-related tasks seem ten times harder, to the point where I’ve become frustrated with myself but still too anxious to fix the problem. In November I reached peak-panic mode when I attended a work event with my boss in Birmingham and spent the day desperately pretending to convince people I actually knew what I was talking about (whilst slowly dying inside).
We’ve now come to the end of International Women’s Day 2016, and I’ve found it really uplifting to scroll through social media today and witness so many women and men discussing the f word not as something to be ridiculed or chastised, but hailed and celebrated in a truly fantastic way.
I’m going to keep this short and sweet given that I’ve written about #IWD twice on my blog already (you can read those posts here and here), but I did want to write a little bit about something I stumbled across this evening on Twitter – a quiz that asks ‘How many laws did you break today [just because you’re a woman]?’ – I got seven: some of these because I went to work, and didn’t tell a man where I was going before I left the house this morning. Oh, and I wore trousers. How fucking scandalous.
I, like so many others, was extremely saddened to hear this evening’s news that teen-fiction author, Louise Rennison has passed away. She was only 63, but behind her she leaves a legacy that has left thousands of teenage girls from all over the world snorting with laughter, since the publication of her first book, Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging, back in 1999.
Louise Rennison was a hilarious and talented writer – whether it was her uniquely comic writing style, her contagious sense of humour, or just the fact that she was stark raving mad, she became my literary inspiration and had me hooked from the moment I caught a glimpse of ‘It’s OK, I’m Wearing Really Big Knickers!’ on my friend’s older sister’s bookshelf. While my friends had themselves glued to Harry Potter – I on the other hand couldn’t enough of Georgia and her wonderfully bonkers outlook on teen life, the dramas of friendships and boys, and the absolute necessity of lip gloss. Louise Rennison was my J.K. Rowling.
Last week ended up being a bit of a whirlwind, as I miraculously passed my driving test on Thursday afternoon and then flew to Budapest the following morning. It was all a bit mad and only now am I starting to settle back into my usually-quite-boring life again.
The Budapest trip was a Christmas gift from my boyfriend, Michael – he’d remembered that I’d wanted to visit the city for a while so it was a fantastic surprise and I felt very lucky. Our trip was booked as a five-day adventure to the Hungarian capital on the Pest side of the river Danube, a journey to Buda on the other side being only a walk-over-a-bridge away. To say I was excited would have been a major understatement and I’d been counting down the days since the moment I’d found out we were going.
We’d expected Budapest to be freezing, packing our suitcases to the brim with thick, woolly garments, hats, scarves and gloves, though it was actually quite mild and gloriously sunny. Our hotel was a beautiful and modern building that was located on the outskirts of the inner-city, and venturing out to explore felt like a new adventure every morning.
Most just-turned-17-year-olds celebrate their birthdays with their first driving lesson, but I actually spent mine in the cinema watching ‘Up’ with my Mum and six-year-old brother – that probably tells you just about everything you need to know.
Unlike most of my friends I never had the urge to start driving lessons straight away – everywhere I ever wanted and needed to be was essentially within walking distance, and I really did like walking providing I at least had a pair of headphones and a good stack of podcasts or music to keep me occupied. I was quite content not having a car – couldn’t afford one even if I wanted to – and had a great, reliable set of friends that would drive me anywhere I needed to be if I asked them nicely. (Thanks especially to Ruth, Alice and Harley who have been my taxi-slaves for the past six years – oh, and my parents, who’ve fulfilled that role for the past twenty-three).