I’m delighted to welcome Gabrielle Mullarkey to Me, My Books and I today with a fab guest post.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gabrielle Mullarkey is a freelance journalist and author. She has written over 1,000 short stories for women’s magazines, ranging from Woman’s Own to that’s life! (Australia and UK), alongside writing opinion pieces for magazines. Since gaining her MSc in creative writing for therapeutic purposes in 2014, she works with writing groups for mental health charity Mind, and writes with and for patients at local hospices. For more on Gabrielle, visit www.gabriellemullarkey.co.uk
Praise for Gabrielle Mullarkey:
“Readers love Gabrielle’s fiction for its range – whether atmospheric mood pieces or contemporary slices of life, all revolve around imaginatively twisty plots packed with sassy dialogue, characters you feel you know and ‘I didn’t see that coming!’ moments.” best
FORGET THE GRAPEVINE, I HEARD IT ON THE 453
Recently, someone asked me along to a pre-lunch writing workshop and launched into elaborate details about where I could park at the venue.
‘That’s OK,’ I said, ‘I’ll take the bus.’
I could tell by their surprise that they didn’t think this was very ‘writerly,’ prompting me to launch into a long, elaborate explanation about how I don’t have access to the car during the day, and so and so forth…
Which got me thinking about the writer in transit.
A big part of me thinks it would be quite ‘writerly’ to zip about in a natty runaround while composing sonnets at traffic lights.
But then, where would I jot down my inspired musings?
A bus or train trip isn’t about woolgathering for me. It’s about what Sigmund Freud called ‘paying attention to absentmindedness’. One minute you’re staring into space while someone else is responsible for watching the lights change, and the next minute, that space contains tiny tadpoles of ideas.
There’s something very restful about letting your mind and gaze wander, filing away images without even realising it – a person on a park bench, a woman pushing a bike uphill, a man crossing the road carrying a tuba…
There are pitfalls, of course. A friend of mine left a notebook of irreplaceable jottings on his local bus. And I can’t see Salman Rushdie or Barbara Taylor Bradford taking the 453 to Deptford bridge and reaching their destination with a fellow passenger’s drool festooning their shoulder.
But where else but public transport would you overhear so many gems? When I heard one woman tell another in scandalised tones, ‘but it’s always shepherd’s pie on a Tuesday!’, my brain duly filed away the remark, and a few months later, I sold a story to a magazine called Shepherd’s Pie Tuesday.
Now that is a very rich dividend indeed.
I doubt I’d be able to woolgather so richly while doing a fair impression of Chevy Chase trying to negotiate a roundabout in National Lampoon’s European Vacation. I’m what you’d call a nervous driver. Last time I reversed our modestly proportioned saloon car out of the driveway, I lost a wing mirror and gained a postman’s bicycle wheel, which didn’t do a whole lot for my nerves (or the postman’s).
That said, a friend did make an interesting point to me the other day – that they couldn’t imagine anything scarier than the blank screen or page waiting for the writer’s opening words.
‘Me too,’ I admitted.
‘So why put yourself through it?’ probed the friend.
I don’t have an answer to that, beyond reckoning that you might as well ask the same of actors who suffer stage fright before every performance, but feel compelled to follow their calling anyway.
Writing is a white-knuckle ride all the way to your destination, but you feel exhilarated when you arrive in one piece.
So for now, I’ll continue to eavesdrop on the 453 or shoehorned onto a Tube train in the rush hour – squashed toes and drool on shoulder being small prices to pay.
So be careful out there – somewhere nearby, a writer is listening!
Thank you for sharing Gabrielle, I love the idea of inspiring a writer without even knowing it!
Now check out Gabrielle’s latest book:
A TALE OF TWO SISTERS
“Bottom line – you don’t steal your sister’s boyfriend
Katie’s sister Flick is a mean girl. Whatever Katie has, Flick wants for herself. And she’ll take it just to prove she can. That’s why she stole Katie’s boyfriend, Steve, then dumped him two weeks later.
Now Katie is with Jack, and Flick is with Dan, so there’s no need for more sibling rivalry … but love and life between sisters is never that simple. If Katie and Dan hadn’t drunk too much that night, and if Flick didn’t make Katie so mad, maybe it would never have happened … if only Katie could remember exactly what had happened…”
A Tale of Two Sisters is a witty, heartwarming tale of romance, jealousy, the family we love, and the family we love to hate.