Often when I talk to others about my interest — no — passion for writing I’m asked why that is or what piqued my interest. Some people are even a little surprised. I hope their surprise doesn’t stem from my guilt of typos and grammatical errors. Look, I’m a creator of all things made up — not a perfectionist. If my imagination and creative thought process were represented in the form of a room it would be filthy, messy and half-done. A basic sh*t-on-the-wall case scenario. You get the point. Apologies for the visual of sh*t. Try not to visualize that whilst reading my work.
Writing definitely infiltrated my life from an early age. Like some culty book enthusiasts, my parents and other family members were well read and it filtered down to us kids. I was a child who loved books and reading. I was also a child who liked to make stories up. I was nicknamed by a neighbor ‘little miss chatterbox’ and still to this day my pop can often be heard asking me, ‘Do you ever stop talking?’
I do believe I was born to B.S.
Once, my younger sister (maybe eighteen months old at the time) fell down a flight of stairs from an aunt’s front porch and mum reached out to grab her—but it was too late. There goes little Kelly tumbling down. Thankfully uninjured. But the thing is, I was convinced Mum had pushed her because that’s what it looked like to me. And to her dismay, that’s what I shared with others. I also told stories about a friend named Jenny who lived in a blue house. Good old Jenny eventually moved away to a farm. Plot twist! She was made up. I wouldn’t even class her as an imaginary friend. She was just some person, an idea that I created from my own brain. Okay, so she’s sounding like an imaginary friend. Whatever. As I grew older I became better at making the made up stuff more believable.
With my parent’s not so amicable split, a couple of house moves and new school transitions, I used a diary as an outlet. I was a pretty sensitive and highly-strung kid. On and off I journaled for most of my adolescent life, even from the age of ten. An early entry I can remember went something like: “When I’m grown up I want to have a daughter named Xena and a son named Zac and I want to live in a forest.” I had big dreams. My older teens saw my entries a little more detailed on the day-to-day happenings. *Spoiler alert* I was an angst-y teenage ‘virgin’ (it’s in quotation marks because virginity is a construct — boom!). I was so self-righteous and very self-conscious. I put it out there that I didn’t give a crap what anyone else thought, but really—l most certainly did. I wrote that high school was boring—a lot, but my entries were full of rich stories and fun events about what my friends and I got up to —the ridiculous schoolyard gossip and the silly rumors that floated around. There were house parties, romances, school formals and close friendships. Some of the stuff I wrote in my journal has definitely inspired ideas for my writing.
I grew up in a working-class Western Sydney suburban wonderland. Well, sort of. At times I referred to it as hell’s mouth. Temps in summer sitting in the thirties and forties (Celsius) most days, it was so dry the grass faded to crispy yellow and my skin would tan walking from the house to the car in the driveway. All my friends lived within a fair walking distance, and though there were ‘gangs’, or better known as Eshay-lads, it still felt safe enough to sneak out at night or walk home tipsy from a party, usually with others. Going back through my journals I have smacked my forehead and thought ‘you little twerp’, but then again, I remember I was pretty feisty and strong-willed and if I believed in a cause I generally stuck it out. I’m loyal, and again I’ll say it, self-righteous. Back then (even now) I would’ve torn down anyone who messed with my friends or family—with my words of course.
The people around me have definitely had an impact on my fascination and obsession with writing. Mum had a box of romance novels in the back of the car at my feet. I remember picking up one of the books and reading it out loud, jolting Mum out of her driving concentration and met with a stern, ‘put that down Dayle!’ I was eight years old.
Safe to say that one encounter has not led my reading taste down the trashy romance novel path. My writing inspiration definitely came when Harry Potter was making headway, and my first real attempt at writing a book came about in a not so orthodox way. I basically helped my sister cheat on an assignment. But this minor act of rule breaking is what sparked this now wild fire inside of me. That short story (handed in and marked with glowing reviews) became a full-blown fantasy adventure, a 300-page story on a Word document, saved somewhere to a floppy disk. No idea how I’ll ever access this story again. Perhaps a dusty, dark archives room in an old library. My older sister is also a major contributor to my writing interests. She’s always encouraging me to keep writing, providing tips, and above all else sees past the spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and plot holes. She believes what I’ve written so far is pretty darn engaging.
So books, reading, writing and storytelling have always been a huge part of my life and who I am and who I’ll become. Storytelling is without a doubt a part of my writing style and learning to pare it back is a challenge for me. I need to remember which story cards to pull close to my chest and which ones to drop like pebbles in that pond, creating a ripple affect that adds to the absoluteness of a tale. I know I can go off track and ramble. But bear with me and I promise it’ll all make complete sh*t-smeared-on-the-wall sense. See what I did there? Now I’ve got you thinking about poop again!
This is all a new thing for me. A way to treat writing less like a hobby and more like a proper project. Another challenge will be to maintain the fun of it as I never want this to become an obligatory chore. I find writing, especially creative writing, a great de-stressor and I hope to never lose its benefits. Now with technology the online world seems like a seamlessly never-ending smorgasbord of possibility. Now more than ever is the time for me to see what I can do. Do I want to do it for money or fame? Nah. F*ck money and f*ck fame (those things aren’t completely off the table, but it’s not why I write). I want to see where this takes me. If I self-publish, generate a series of short stories, just do this sharing thing or finish a book, I’ll be content.
For years I feared what others might think or say so I never shared my work, and I put up a massive wall that stopped me from even trying or wanting to improve the skills I have. Well now I say to myself, “beat it teenage twerp psyche, you and your self-doubt belong back in the early 2000s with irons as hair straighteners and unflattering baggy shorts with the stripe down the side.”
Author: Dayle Fogarty
Author Bio: I’m an aspiring Aboriginal Australian writer who recently reignited my love for creative writing. I live in Lake Macquarie, a region north of Sydney, and work part-time in youth work. For the first time I’m putting my writing first! My current projects are two novels (one fantasy, the other YA fiction), short journal articles, and a series of online writing course reviews.
Link to social media or website: https://www.instagram.com/dayleaf_writing/