I find time to write every day. I scrutinise my calendar for that time. I borrow minutes on buses and steal hours in cafes when I should be doing something else.
My mum taught me to read when I was 3 years old and gave me books throughout my childhood. I know she read to me and and I am grateful that she passed on her enthusiasm. I spent my secondary school breaks and lunch times in the library, I followed up on the recommendations my English literature teacher gave me, and found book introductions telling me I must read certain classics. I made a list and worked my way through: Wordsworth’s The Prelude, Plato’s Republic, Aligheri’s The Divine Comedy.
I ranged around Sevenoaks library and devoured books at home, returning each week to swap them after naughtily reading under the covers into the early hours. Tiring of the children’s section, I frequently read unsuitable tomes meant for grown-ups, naively not knowing what lurked behind the title. I covered the obvious ones with brown paper so I could read them on the coach on the way home from the swimming gala!
I read from my dad’s shelves too- he went through a faze of ordering Folio books which I am not sure he actually read, but I did.
I don’t think we had a book club at school as such, but I organised authors to visit us, and we went on trips to hear others. I contributed to the school magazine: poetry and other teenage stuff. When I met Mark, he was reading Camus and Zola, so I read them too, even in French.
I knew I wanted to go to university to read English, and was mortified when I was predicted such poor A’ Level results that I was recommended to try something else. In fact I did obtain good enough grades, but by then it was too late. It took me years to get over the sense that I had missed out on lectures and seminars, being directed to study particular texts by inspirational teachers.
In 2020 my first book was published by Singing Dragon (Hachette), Working with Death and Loss in Shiatsu Practice, a guide to holistic bodywork in palliative care. Since then I have had some essays published by Caught by the River, Monstrous Regiment and The Cure for Sleep June and July. There are more on my website – Untangling and A Sense of Place are two.
“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” ― Virginia Woolf,
Much of the writing on this blog was done when I was a contributor to The Wee Review
My website is tamsingrainger.com
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org