Tell us about something — an object, a memory, a story — you haven’t touched in a while.
The asparagus peelings, leftover when preparing a dish of asparagus.
Many years ago, forty-five to be exact, I had a bump: number one son was on the way. Due to my proportions, my working life was paused for a year and I was not in the mood for heavy duty work. Suddenly I had an idea. I do not know where it originated, it was there. I thought up a story about a fish. My only relationship to fish at the time was an eating relationship. I cooked fish and it was a weekly meal. For some strange reason I began to think about the fish that escaped. I gave him the name Rocky. He was a goldfish.
At this time computers were not household gadgets. Mr. Swiss would bring one home now and again from work. I remember it was an IBM, one of the first, and we all had a little fun with it, but it was nothing to be compared with today’s laptops.
We had an electric typewriter which was rarely used; bought at the local supermarket for a reasonable price. I found the machine at home together with some paper and placed it on the table. First of all I wiped the layer of dust from the cover. It was in a compact box. I removed the lid and plugged it into the electricity supply and it was alive. It summed and breathed and sat waiting for my first movement. I began to write. My fishy ideas were formed into words and I wrote and wrote and wrote. I formed a real fishy world. Rocky escaped from the bowl whilst it was being cleaned and took a dive into the sink. He was free and landed in the watery world where all the waste lands when the sink is emptied.
He met other fishy friends, he found a girlfriend and I was in my own little world. Now and again the bump made itself noticeable, little feet kicking and attacks of indigestion. It was growing and telling me only a month to go. I hurried with my story and one day it was finished before the bump arrived. I was always very good at beginnings, but not so good with finishings. This time I had written a complete story. I know I was not the J.K.Rowling of the 1960’s (it was 1969) but I felt a little proud feeling of ending something I had begun.
My husband asked what I was writing on the typewriter. I confessed and he read my story. He said I should read it through for corrections, which I did, feeling very professional. My husband sent it to a magazine in London for printing: not my idea, but he found why not? Naturally it was not my breakthrough, it was rejected and with time I was too occupied with changing diapers and feeding a baby that cried for more when hungry. I also had two step-children to take care of and I gave up my idea of becoming a writer. The pages disappeared somewhere. There was another unfinished story about Sam Squirrel discovers the world, at least his world.
I will now fast forward in time. In the meanwhile the computer had become a household appliance, although not yet movable. The laptop had not yet arrived, but the fixed version with a large box on the floor was taking up room under the desk. Bill Gates had discovered another sort of windows and a little later I discovered blogging. I remember the first time I heard the word and asked Mr. Swiss (my husband) “What is a Blog”. He did not really know, but said some writing on the computer. I began my search for blog and found it. There were not so many platforms available, but I found one. What to write: I had no idea. I decided it was something like a diary, but did not want to diverge to many private moments of my life. I remembered my Rocky story. Where was it?
“Mr. Swiss, do you know where my Rocky story is.”
“Yes, of course (he is Swiss – they are very well organised). I put it in a folder with some other stuff you wrote in the celler.”
So Mr. Swiss, being Swiss, went to the celler and naturally found it, still in the large folder with all my writing attempts, the Rocky story being amongst them. By now the kids were all at school during the day and in a spare moment I typed it into the computer and uploaded it on a blogging site. I even found some suitable illustrations on the web. Today after completing a Web assistant course, I would probably adapt my own photos to the story, but this was some time ago and html and css were not in my vocabulary.
My first blogging site closed down, the second blogging site I found also closed and now I am in WordPress and Rocky is still here, as well as Sam the Squirrel which I had completed in the meanwhile. In the meanwhile I removed the illustrations.
Here they are:
The Adventures of Rocky the Fish
Sam Squirrel discovers the world
I still have the orginal transcripts written on our old electric typewriter. I suppose the crude beginnings of my blogging hobby. At least it is a quiet hobby and now I have my own (third) laptop to write my creations.