Early works


Since I’m having such trouble with my current writings, I’m going to revisit some old stuff.

And I mean really old stuff.

I’ve been sorting out cupboards and drawers. We’re thinking of downsizing, so I’m making a concerted effort to declutter. It hasn’t been going very fast, but I have made some progress. I’ve cleared a whole drawer of my filing cabinet to make room for newer stuff. I’ve shredded about ten years’ worth of old bank statements that were more than ten years old.

I’ve also found some very old ring binders, from my school days. Old essays and stories and poems. Most of the essays have just hit the recycling bin. Although I have found some that I did in the Lower Sixth Classical Literature class that I got A or A- for, that I may just read again before I retire them.

Looking at the stories and poems, I’m surprised how obsessed with death I seem to have been around that time. No reason for it. No bereavement during that period or anything. Oh well. Just a phase I was going through I guess.

I thought I’d publish some of these early works here. If only to show the journey I’ve traveled as a writer. I’m going to reproduce them exactly. No editing whatsoever, no matter how much I may be tempted to ‘correct’ or ‘improve’ them.

I also found the items I’m going to start off with. We were set a homework to imagine we were an agony aunt, giving advice to characters in the Greek Literature stories we were studying. This is what I turned in:

Dear Jocasta

Well really, my dear, all I can say to you is that you don’t want to believe everything you hear. Can you really remain convinced of the truth of this Delphic oracle? You must admit it is a bit far-fetched. Are you sure you haven’t been reading too many science fiction and horror stories?

Well, anyway, there are other solutions. Don’t you think it is just the tiniest bit drastic to have your little boy taken out and chained to a mountain like a common Spartan?

Surely if you just bring him up like any normal boy with love and understanding he won’t want to go through with the thing. He must see he can gain nothing from it.

Besides, you obviously know better and he can’t do all that much without your consent. Believe me, my dear, you have some rights and there is no way he can make you marry him. I’m sorry dear, I know it isn’t what you wanted to hear, but I really cannot condone such drastic measures, it can only lead to grief and heartache, I assure you.


My dear Jocasta,

Hold everything and phone the Samaritans. I can give you their number. I’m sure they can comfort and advise you. It surely can’t be as bad as you seem to think. I realize what you must be going through, and it must destroy your faith in a widow re-marrying, but my dear, stop blaming yourself. You couldn’t have known who he was. Besides, suicide won’t alter things, it will only add insult to injury. And remember, your children need you. Is it fair to punish them too? I know how you and your husband – I’m sorry, I should say son – must feel about his children, oh dear, um brothers and sisters, but once again I say that they are innocent. If you disrupt them now, it can only lead to worse trouble. Don’t you want your little Antigone to be a normal happy little girl? Think what effect your death could have on her.

No dear, you must take a deep breath and try to start again. What has happened is in the past. Remember that you cannot change the past, but your reaction, and that means whatever you decide to do now, could well change the future,

Best of luck dear


Dear Cassandra

I know it must be hard for you to pull up your roots and move to a foreign land where you don’t know anyone, but I’m sure it won’t be as bad as you fear. It is only natural to be apprehensive about change, but you seem to be obsessed with this silly notion that it will be the death of you. Calm down dear, stop ‘seeing things’ that aren’t there. It is just your imagination working overtime because you don’t want to leave home. Look on it as an adventure. Personally, I envy you. These days I can’t afford to travel, while you’re getting a trip abroad for nothing. You’ll get to see all the sights, no doubt. Lucky girl I say. And a handsome boyfriend thrown in too! I wouldn’t mind changing places, you’ve got it made!

What grade would you have given me? Remember, this was written back in 1974!


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