I Was a Teen Bride
OK, I wasn't exactly a teenager, or a bride, but I was only 24 (which, looking back, seems impossibly young to make a lifetime commitment!) After seeing our friends' weddings meddled into mediocrity by over-zealous parents, we were determined to do things our way. So we arranged the Register Office, booked a caterer and maxxed out our credit cards. Our DIY philosophy extended to the wedding invites, which were not going to be like everyone else's!
Marriage Times (1996) - Click to open in new tab
After all the preparation, the day went like a beautiful dream, even if we had managed to pick a date that coincided with an England World Cup game! The sun beamed down, the ceremony was lovely, the food entirely vegetarian and we even had a few hours in the middle to go to the pub for a pint!
A year passed, and we felt that our first wedding anniversary needed to be celebrated with some kind of pomp. But what could we possibly do to let everyone know how much we appreciated them coming to the wedding? Why, how about another newspaper?
Marriage Times 2 (1997) - Click to open in new tab
You can see that we pulled out all the stops for this three page special. I believe that Claire actually had a hand in some of this nonsense, but when asked she denied all knowledge.
Ten Years Went So Fast
Fast-forward to 2006, and we decided (a little rashly, as it turned out) to have a joint wedding anniversary party with my in-laws. We were celebrating ten years of marriage and they were celebrating forty years(!) Of course, the occasion called for another publication, and I really went for it this time:
Shock! (2006) - Click to open in new tab
My in-laws, no doubt horrified by this craziness, made their own, more traditional invites to send to their own friends (probably a wise choice). You remember I mentioned rashes, earlier? Well the party itself would have been fine, except for the fact that my two-year-old daughter came down with chicken pox that afternoon! We soldiered through, but it took some of the shine off the occasion.
The seven years since have not been graced by any further anniversary parties or publications, although I'm very pleased to report that we're still married! Perhaps we can look forward to a 3D holographic iPad edition of Marriage Times in 2021...
This last item doesn't really have much to do with the previous ones, apart from the fact I wrote it. But I figured I'd include it so you didn't have to suffer yet another Museum of Me next Christmas!
Back in 2009, I'd joined an adult writing group and decided to chance my arm in their short story competition. The judge was a professional short fiction writer, so I tried to speak directly to him, with a story that I thought he'd enjoy. I relished the opportunity to adopt a voice which necessitated egregious overwriting, very different to my usual stripped-back style. The 1,200 word result took the first prize, which I was exceedingly pleased about:
Dear Sir (2009) - 1,200 words - Click to open in new tab
My short story fame was to be short-lived, because two months after I wrote this, I discovered SCBWI. I put short fiction out of my mind and spent the next four years working on children's novels.
How ironic then, that I find myself almost full circle at the end of 2013, with the first of my short stories for children about to be published in Stew Magazine. After so long telling myself that novels were the only way to creative satisfaction, I'm beginning to rediscover a whole wealth of different media. 2014 is sure to be a year full of surprises and opportunities!
Have a great Christmas and New Year, and thank you to everyone that's supported me in my creative life this year. See you again on the 3rd January.