I think I was born to be a writer. At the risk of sounding like one of those people who claim to have been able to dance before they could walk or sing before they could talk, I am almost certain that I was reading before I could read. The difference is I have witnessed actual evidence that my aforementioned statement is accurate.
My evidence is a video taken my late maternal grandfather during a visit by him and my grandmother when I was about five years old and my younger sister five months old. A couple of months ago the VHS cassette (these were the early 1990’s: the days before DVDs and Blue-Ray, etc) resurfaced and, still being in possession of a video machine, I decided to relive my formative years. The video was incredibly difficult to watch for several reasons; a.) I spent the majority of the time cringing upon the realisation that I was an incredibly pretentious child who was seemingly fond of adopting a Queen-of-England posh British accent (which, to deliver some context, makes little sense considering the majority of my family is South African); b.) the entire home movie is narrated by my late grandfather, who had a larger-than-life personality that we still yearn for a decade after his untimely passing; and c.) it was the 90’s and we all looked horrendous: my mom had an absolutely colossal perm, my general ‘look’ included really colourful-in-a-very-bad-clashing-way jumpers and I’m pretty sure at one point I glimpsed my dad wearing hot pants.
Nevertheless, my granddad managed to capture, on camera, me, at the age of five, reading a book to my baby sister. Okay, so maybe I wasn’t actually reading the words on the page but I definitely embroidered an elaborate story using the illustrations. Which I think is fairly impressive for a five-year-old. And I would like to believe that moment captured the beginning of my enduring creative eccentricity. I haven’t stopped creating stories since. At least now I can write them down. J
Another proud moment came during a later scene in the home video, filmed at my pre-primary school, revealing my vast artistic endeavours. Our task was to paint anything we desired on the walls outside our classrooms. I painted a mermaid seeing as I was fully into mythical sea creatures at that point in my life (I also really enjoyed the idea of talking dolphins). The teachers were so impressed with my painting I was chosen to paint another mermaid on a different building in the pre-primary. Unfortunately, my artistic talents haven’t matured since then.