I wanted to be a journalist when I left school, but on the day of the interview, I was five minutes late and neglected to take a pen with me, so got booted out before I even sat down.
I’d like to say that I learned something from that short, sharp lesson from Stafford Newsletter but I am still totally disorganised and can never find a pen when I need one!
So, with my fledgeling writing career stopped in its tracks I took the words of my headmistress literally: girls who are not up to par should become hairdressers or air stewardesses. That’s me then, I thought, and my career path was chosen, even though the nearest airport was fifty miles away.
And so, my flying career took off. (Groan!) To quote someone rather famous ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’ I had brilliant fun, interspersed with tedious bus journeys from outlying airports covered in dense fog. There were long, twelve-hour shifts, early morning starts in a car that often wouldn’t, and many, many mini bottles of airline wine, quaffed at the end of the day.
But my life changed when I set eyes on a pilot who was just on the wrong side of handsome and therefore in my eyes attainable. Sadly, this is not the happy ever after story it should be, as I, unfortunately, found out the hard way, that ‘love at first sight’ is not automatically reciprocated.
My heart was broken.
The only way to achieve the happy ending I was looking for, was to write it myself. The pilot, who for some reason, chose a willowy brunette over a slightly dumpy blonde, (me!) became more handsome, witty and kind, and far more preferable than the real deal, once he was in my story. My latent creative streak was finally free to invent more gorgeous men and sassy women to have the happy ever after, I hadn’t yet achieved. And, yup, the pilot was history.
So, I finally managed to crack the writing career I was destined for–better late than never, I say.
More than a few of my heroes and heroines have been left in the limbo of a half-written novel and some were doomed to languish forever. The dashing millionaire was thrown in the trash for being too moody, along with the gorgeous redhead who was not so much feisty as just plain nasty. Some ungrateful characters just wouldn’t do as they were told, meandering along alleyways or hurtling towards dead ends, never to return–and it was probably the best place for them.
But I’m still here, and so are my new characters, piling up behind me, waiting to show the discerning reader how wonderful it is to be loved and to be in love.
Oh, and I did manage my ‘happy ever after’ although he’s not a pilot (probably for the best!) and I’m still drinking wine, although these days it tends to come from a glass bottle with a cork and a proper label.