Friday, March 16, 2012
Shoes made me a writer.
When I was 14, it was the beginning of the pointy-toed shoes era. I desperately wanted a pair of ultra-pointy, black patent leather high heels with a matching bag and kid leather gloves. Stopped short of the pillbox hat though. So I sent off some stories to an English magazine. I could see our letterbox from my school desk, Australian History class, last period before the lunch break. We lived across the road from the school. When the postman would make a delivery, I would leave class as soon as I heard the first bell, vault the wire fence and collect the mail. My letters would be ripped open fast before my parents arrived home for their lunch (they both worked at the school) and when cheques began to arrive, I would deposit the money in my savings account. It only took one story to cover the shoes and bag. The next cheque paid for acting lessons. The next, train tickets to the city and the occasional Lindt chocolate treat. My stories? Ugh, terrible rubbish, but with an arc that seemed to work. The women all had auburn hair and pretty names like Jessica. The men were Brent and wore camel sportscoats that had a whiff of Amphora tobacco when their lovers nestled into their shoulders. It was good discipline. And I became self-sufficient and never told my parents how I suddenly became well dressed. They would never have approved of my steamy (in a childish way) ramblings! But it was the 1960s when anything could easily earn a 'grounding' or worse still, a beating with the back of a hairbrush. Which was NOT good discipline.