On Writing, Living & Legitimising Expletives

At age 12 I swore I would be a writer.

I would pen the next great novel sitting at my desk by the window, fireplace crackling nearby, bookshelves inquiring over me. Teacups and teapots would be scattered across my workspace like a legion of colonial ships, preparing the rape of a newfound, ancient land. I would write, and if the ghosts of literature’s past weren’t too heavy and intimidating, I would write well. I would write and I would say “fuck” a lot, because it was an artistic right not often afforded to 12 year olds. I would be a writer.


After a few attempts at quasi crime/ supernatural thriller in which the protagonist says “fuck” a lot, I thought, at the valiant age of 12, perhaps what I needed was some life experience. Then I could be a writer, then I would have something to say, then I would have earned my artistic credentials to say “fuck” a lot. Yes, I would have some life experiences. I would wait to write.

So I waited. And I waited. Time went by. I managed to finish high school (if you knew me at the time & my proclivity for self-destruction, you will understand the wonderment associated with me completing VCE). I had one or two dramatic religious conversions. I fell in and out of love, though in hindsight, it could have been “daddy-issues inspired co-dependence”, or a heavy mixture of both. An alleged sister popped up out of the wind like an episode of The O.C., sticking around just long enough to ensure the maximum emotional damage was achieved before disappearing into genetic mis-matched oblivion. I lived in China. I lived in China. I gave myself time to scoop up as many pieces of my shattered heart and dreams before carrying them home to Oz. I found myself pregnant. I found myself pregnant, alone, with a new sense of purpose and zeal for life. I entered the world of single mum-dom: a sacred, difficult, sorely misunderstood place. I almost died. My son was almost orphaned only minutes after he entered the world. My knight in shining armour did come along, riding an unfinished EH to carry me over the threshold of the warrantee-free contractual relationship that is marriage, with a bonus 30 year mortgage. Together, we are building a life. Together, we are learning about the rabbit hole that is IVF. Together, we laugh. Together, we negotiate the emotional terrain that comes with marriage, with friendship, with life. I have experienced deep shades of community and support that have forever impacted my perception of faith, humanity and community. I’m completing post-grad studies. I read. I read a lot, and then I read some more.

I wait. Almost 30, I wait to write.

I wish I could go back and tell the valiant 12 year old not to wait for life to happen. To just write. Write, write, write. Write quasi preternatural- thrillers with no real plot & weak characters whose only contribution to the narrative is the creative use of profanities. Write badly, write bloody. Just write.

Now, 18 years later, I start all over again. I no longer aspire to pen the next great novel, but the bookshelves inquire, the fireplace exists, teacups are scattered and teapots are ready to conquer the new creative space. The backlog of pent up emotion and experience is ready to be exploited in the name of art. Now, I just need to find the balls and make the time to write. Write, write, write. Write badly, write bloody, but for fuck’s sake, just write.

colonising teapot



Filed under Books

13 responses to “On Writing, Living & Legitimising Expletives

  1. Pingback: Growing People, Plants & Novels | Dear Stephen King,

  2. PennyV

    this blog is such perfect evidence of your writing ability dsk! I loved reading through this and recognising bits of you, bits of me, and also bits of you I didn’t know about… I can’t remember her exact words, but Jeannette Winterson said something like “we are not only what we do, but we are our hopes and dreams”, you’re a writer in what you do and also in your 12 year old self’s dreams…
    also, you’ve inspired me, I’ve got to just bloody write – even if its bad!

    • DearStephenKing

      Thanks Pen, that means a lot coming from you, I must say. Yes, you should write! Write, write, write! And let us enjoy the inner world of Penny V. Perhaps we should be stupidly ambitious and try find a time to write together?

  3. fuck yes, write!
    because you CAN
    because YOU can
    have you seen neil gaiman’s talk on making art? and his message for new year a while back on making mistakes? and his lovely wife, amanda fucking palmer ‘in my mind’
    also check out the duty of the artist by stefanic
    all great for doing what is yours to do, and judging by what i’ve read here, yours is to write 😉

    • DearStephenKing

      Haha THANKS! I will investigate each and every one of those suggestions, much appreciated. I had a little browse of your blog earlier, what a gem. It’s like stepping into the online equivalent of a rustic log cabin in the woods, the perfect sanctuary for an artist. Lovely!

      Thanks SingingBirdArtist! HNY


  4. Go Shannon, thanks for the blog too

  5. Even in dot-point form, it’s such a fascinating and inspiring story you’ve made along your way, Shan. Not to mention wonderfully written. Happy New Year, and here’s to the penmonkey inside! Fuck!

  6. tess

    Once again you have made me cry. I wish l had been more intune with you the twelve year old.

  7. I love this Shannon! Keep writing like this and I’ll read the book for sure. Your very articulate and passionate honesty comes roaring out in the prose and provides a vivid picture of what you write about. I’m looking forward to more of this!

    • DearStephenKing

      Thanks Rob! You’re so encouraging! I must say, I did have fun writing this one, thanks for the support 🙂

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