Once Upon A Time . . .

Published on Wednesday 13th August 2014 by Julie Embleton

Once Upon A Time . . . I wrote a story called ‘Friday the 13th’. I was about fifteen at the time and the title had been assigned for weekend homework. It was the first time I’d been given an essay title that didn’t make me want to wail with boredom – I’d had enough ‘comparing and contrasting’ of Shakespeare’s characters or Yeats’s backdrops to last me a lifetime (and was it just me who always left it ‘til the last hour on a dark and wet Sunday evening to start the damn thing?) So with an enthusiasm that had no right to be anywhere but in an Enid Blyton book (“Shall we write the essay, Jane?! Oh, yes, Tarquin, let’s!!”)I got busy and had the essay written before bed on the Friday night.

Writing a story under my terms and conditions was like being handed the keys to the kingdom and for the first time in my life I experienced the rush of writing Fantasy. The reaction that my story got was completely unexpected – especially when the biggest commendation came from my English teacher (who to this day gets a subtle nod in every story I write). ‘Keep writing’, she had said to me, ‘as much as you can and as often as you can, and write about whatever makes you want to write.’ So I wrote Fantasy – and still do. Reality is too real for me; I live it every day, so when I want to escape I like to immerse myself in a little make-believe. I’ve written Fiction in the past but the inspiration fizzles out pretty fast when I get frustrated with the restrictions of being bound by ‘real life’. With Fantasy I get to bend the rules of reality, and who doesn’t like to do that every now and then? Doesn’t imagining that your aloof, pale-skinned, slightly superior work colleague might be a kick-ass, ninja vampire bring more of a thrill to your day instead of knowing that she’s just the stand-offish accounts clerk who’s dying a slow death thanks to the cabbage-soup diet? What about the weird neighbour who has all those mangy looking dogs? You can never see any further into his decrepit little house than the tobacco-stained lace curtains hanging limply in his window, but maybe he’s not in there muttering about the youth of today and the price of milk, maybe he’s summoning demons or making voodoo dolls of government figures and saving our country from total ruin one pin-prick at a time? Even your cousin – you know – the weird bearded guy who always seems to be sprinkled with dog hair even though he doesn’t own one. Maybe he’s the Alpha of a werewolf pack and he spent last night savagely defending his territory from a pack of rabid werewolves . . .

I don’t get to write as much as I’d love to because real life has to be lived, but every now and then I get to engross myself in creating a world of fantasy, and I hope that what I write gives you an opportunity to escape in turn.

Welcome to my site and my blog. Here’s hoping we can keep each other entertained for a long time to come.

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