23rd February 2018
I’ve never really had a plan. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was never particularly good at one thing and therefore specialised in it. I was OK at lots of things which to some might be something to aspire to, but to me, it has meant that I have always been somewhat divided.
I am quite a creative person in some respects. I learnt to play the piano when I was a child. If I consider what that taught me, I learnt not only to understand what all those lines and dots and squiggles mean, but how to transfer their information into what they are supposed to sound like.
But that’s the thing about learning to play an instrument, you have to engage the part of you brain that sees all those lines and dots and squiggles, understand their meaning and apply that meaning into the other part of your brain that deals with the performance. Two different sides of the brain, logic and learning, and, emotion and feeling.
At some point in my life, reading music was left behind and creating music took its place. I began to write songs, which engaged my mind in a completely different way. I was applying my skills with instruments, creating melodies over chords, and writing words that had meaning to match them.
A massive lack of confidence in myself and my abilities, eventually lead me to leave song writing behind too. I couldn’t get up and sing my songs for people. The thought didn’t even enter my mind. It was never a serious option. I was OK at playing the guitar, OK at singing and OK at song writing, but in my mind, ‘OK’ didn’t make me good enough to inflict what I had created onto people.
Song writing did however, spark in me an interest in using words to create something meaningful. I very rarely wrote a song about myself or an experience I went through – I always wrote about fictional characters in a situation that meant something to other people. This is where my novel writing came into being. I engaged the creative side in me in making up characters and plots, and the logical side of me that can plan a story from beginning to end, when’s the best point to achieve this, who should do that and why… etc.
In a way, I suppose, I’ve achieved a strange balance – I am a 34 year old man who is able to follow instructions, apply logic and use lateral thinking, but also who is creative. It’s sort of like baking a cake I suppose. You have to be able to follow instructions to bake the cake, but you then have to be creative to make it look pretty.
I’m OK at baking too.