thing I have to say is that I am blown away by the two ladies that join me on
this blog. I have said that we are all
different and how much I enjoy that but now I find that underneath we are not
so different and I am enjoying that more.
There is a
commonality that drew us all together. I
like that this common thread existed in the past and brought itself to this
present and hopefully the future to come.
Their influences are very strong hence identifiable because they come
from some great books and films. I can’t
wait for them to get the accolades they deserve when their respective books are
published. It honours their
influences. You can see I believe in
them but then why not because readers are so subjective, aren’t they? I am a reader foremost. I like what they
write and how they write it. Do they
write in my preferred genre? No they don’t but their work makes me want to read
their genre. See unlike them I wasn’t
drawn to a type but to reading itself, and even now I don’t have a preference.
Alison and Kay were slowly being pulled towards their path I was instead being influenced into being a reader and just
a reader. It was never about what I liked, I just liked to read. My father came to this country as a migrant
and a great portion of that decision had to do with the lack of opportunity for
education. In Italy mature age education was not and still isn’t an easy
option. Not to digress but I graduated
with a Bachelor of Education at forty years of age, a thing my father would not
have dreamed of as being possible. He didn’t live to see this which is sad but
the story behind it is material for something I may use, or may simply tell you
about one day. It is extraordinary what
we humans can do to provide resources to eventually become stories.
he valued reading above everything; saw it as the answer to everything. He was right; he was seeking knowledge and knowledge
is certainly an answer, just not to everything. At first he did try to control
my reading or my knowledge gathering but after a while he was just glad I liked
it so much. Every fortnight I would go
to the library and get books for him and books for me. He introduced me to the Roman and then Greek
gods and then I followed through with Norse and anything else I could find
about mythical beings. That same
wonderful world opened up so many possibilities and got me into fiction. The Paddington Library, Paddington, Sydney
that is, became my own personal heaven and though fiction wasn’t his preference
he allowed me this joy. Yes, I said
allowed. My father had set ideas on many
things and it wasn’t easy growing up.
By the age
of twelve I had read just about every book in the junior fiction section. My father had a library card as well and it
was my job to bring home at least two books for him. Not knowing English well two to three books
lasted him the two weeks and let me borrow on his card. While he read his three I was probably
devouring five, six and more so borrowing on his card was god sent because I
could start on the senior fiction books.
I just told them it was for my Dad.
He didn’t say much as long as I was doing well at school and happily
bought the whole the more I read the
better at school I would be and never thought to vet my reading
I loved my
family but I was so different to them and in fact often wished the people from
outer space would come back and find me.
I was the original ET (my link to Kay) waiting for those strange
creatures that accidentally forgot me on a planet that didn’t make much sense,
to come get me. Don’t get me wrong I did
love my parents but the sky was an endless fascination as was magic. My father though an avid reader didn’t have
time for fiction and there was no-one to encourage my imagination into physical
expression. Yes, I had started a few
scribbles by this stage but it is hard to do something that isn’t valued. My
father had missed out in Italy on an education and he wanted to make sure his
children didn’t and his rules to enforce this were quite rigid and confusing at
times. I was a girl so there was added
pressure to behave a certain way. I
wasn’t allowed out with friends even to go across the road. It was so ironic he trusted only family but that
is a different story and not for today. It is enough to know I was allowed the
So I kept
reading but now I had discovered the supernatural, science fiction and fantasy (my
link to Alison). It had started with wishing I was an alien waiting for
rescue. Then the scenario changed to what
appeared a human (me of course) actually being an entirely different creature. There was such a fascinating wealth of
possibilities in these diverse worlds and creatures. I was still scribbling, usually poetry and my
teachers at school were rather fabulous and liked my writing and encouraged me
but the thought of writing as a career hadn’t really occurred to me. It was enough to read and write in my head. The day would come when I would put it down
and I never questioned this would happen but for now I had other problems. The pressure to graduate and go to University
was unbearable. I felt like a prisoner
and I guess I was. I was allowed school
and the library. I did what I had done
for so long I buried myself in books and the peace escapism brought allowed me
to plan. I would get a job and then when
the next intake occurred I would join the Womens Royal Australian Army Corps. Real life provides so much material, doesn’t
it? Now is the time for my first vampire story.
At home my
parents were set on their course for me of University and a law degree. It didn’t matter what I wanted for me. I had long put behind me my ET episode. Iwas
now seventeen and a grown-up but not having the power to decide for myself
brought back the I wish I was an alien feelings. Reading
was a solace but action was better. It was time to put my plan into place. The
minute school finished I found myself a job with Singer Australia located in
Kent Street, Sydney. I was starting the following week. I hadn’t told my parents the Army part. Instead I made it seem like I wanted to save
some money. I often wonder what would
have happened if I had simply told them the truth. I may have been less
week I started work the TV had a run on vampires. I mean they were coming out of everywhere and
some were pretty scary. The ridiculous
thing is the only vampire I remember when I think back on this incident is someone
similar to Bella Lugosi saying ‘Darlink, I vont to drink yourrrr (roll on the
‘r’ as any good Transylvania knows) blood” in some movie, and then Caesar
Romero (a very popular star of the day with a Spanish accent) making a guest
appearance on a show called the Love Boat.
With the original screening of the Love Boat they would have intervals that
included some comedy skits. This same
Spanish accented voice went to the blood bank in a black cape and asked if he
could make a withdrawal. Pretty funny,
really, but talk about a series of events.
I was reading some pretty gory supernatural,
and was still a big fan of anything that had to do with outer space but my
reading really was quite eclectic. I
never thought about what style I would choose although some of my poems were
pretty dark. By now you are asking how all
of this fits together. You would think I
was primed to write in either of those two genres for a start, wouldn’t you?
Alright I will get on with it. So Kent Street was near Clarence Street and
Clarence Street was where the blood bank was located. I had to walk past it
every day and every day of that particular week the vamps were on the TV in a
variety of things and blood flowed liberally.
Also on was a rerun of “The day the earth stood still” (the original
with Michael Rennie and a nice film); some other alien invasion thing; Twilight
Zone was running; I was reading as I said some pretty hairy stuff; and don’t
forget good old Caesar Romero wanting to make withdrawals courtesy of the Love
boat but all was still well with the world.
Friday night when I dreamed about the entire combination, woke up screaming
(silently of course which is worse) only to find I had hung my dressing gown in
such a way on the back of the bedroom door that it resembled a man in a black
cape, not just any man but a vampire man.
I would love to go into flowing adjectival descriptions of my terror
that night (I was frozen to the spot until daylight and trust me it was dark
when I woke up) but needless to say I want to sleep tonight so I won’t. The love affair with the world of ‘not this
world’ was well and truly over but so was the desire to write except for the
odd poem. It just stopped. I don’t know why but somehow it wasn’t my
time, and for that period of my life neither was the supernatural unless it was
about fairies and Mr Spock on Star Trek.
for Part 2 but be warned if may be a lot of waffling like this has been before
we get to the why Vampires, Sci-Fi,
Fantasy and why I don’t write in these genres I think? Let me know if you want me to stop. Ha, like I will listen!