I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember.
I wrote poetry from a young age (my Mum still has several of my earliest creations tucked away) and careers projects always involved books of some kind. I loved writing in English lessons and would create meticulously crafted stories; in fact, any lesson offered creative potential. A project on the Spanish Armada became an in-depth narrative that filled an entire exercise book, while a simple one-page essay could be eked out into reams of carefully-honed words. I was never one for brevity.
But, somewhere along way – I can’t remember when or why – I must have decided that writing wasn’t a suitable career choice. Perhaps I couldn’t see a way of actually earning a living from it, that dreams of multi-million pound book contracts were just that, and that a far better idea would be to focus on something else. (I changed my mind later, hence my launch into the freelance world and beyond, but that’s another story.)
I don’t think it was a particularly conscious choice, but what I focused on next was psychology, and that was the start of my second passion in life.
There’s something about the human mind that fascinates me. That we all have essentially the same physical components, but that something about us – be it genetic predispositions, differences in the way those genes are expressed, a slightly different mix of chemicals, or simply our environment – makes us entirely different from the person sitting next to us. No-one, not even supposedly-genetically identical twins, has exactly the same personality, or precisely the same reactions to external stimuli.
Certain aspects of the mind can’t even be explained, over a century after the father of psychiatry first began his analysis of the human psyche. Things like sociopathy – how does one become a sociopath? What is it about their genetics, their upbringing, their chemical composition that makes their emotional reactions, and their mind as a whole, so different to those of so-called “normal” people? (I could talk for hours about whether anyone actually is “normal” and what defines it as such, but not right now.)
It’s these questions in particular that excite me, and perhaps explain why I centred on psychology at A-Level, and again in my degree. It could also explain why I’ve gone back to my roots, as it were, in my writing.
My writing has always had a psychological edge. In fact, I recently opened a notebook that had remained firmly shut for some four years, only to find that the ideas I’ve been mulling over in recent weeks – all sociopathy-based, incidentally – were the exact same ones I first wrote down all those years ago. Almost to the word (in some sentences, the exact same words). And I had no recollection of them whatsoever until I went back to that notebook.
Coincidence, no? Perhaps those ideas were always there, just out of conscious reach, bubbling away under the surface and silently pushing me to get back to that creative space. But I’m taking it as a sign. Having recently returned to my first love, I’m going to combine it with my second, and see what kind of melting pot I can create. Let’s get cooking.