I look at the writing of others and compare it to my own. My ex husband was an English Graduate who wrote for a living. One of my friends here in Cape Town is a published author and highly regarded travel journalist – a Rhodes Scholar, no less. I have two friends in LA who are professional writers and my daughter is about to debut her first play.
Their prose is never purple, punctuated only with correct grammar and never with cliche. I read the long list of errors that amateur writers make. I wince and delete all my adjectives. I look online for clever words. I try to remember if the full stop goes after or before the parenthesis. Why did I think I could do this? And then I realise it is not the style in which you write nor the words you use, but the subject matter which is important. I am not here to win the Booker – only to touch your heart in some small way. And if I have achieved that, awakening a recognition within you, then I will have served my purpose and the courage to publish my words will have been worthwhile.
A stack of old log books – with diary entries and notes – is crammed between the shelves of the bookcase in the back room. They chart my journey to Africa – the ups and the downs, the reflections on my life, the insights and epiphanies along the way. The stories remain locked in their dusty covers, fading with time, eager to be read, hopeful that one day I’ll resurrect them.