I loved reading as a child and still do. I bought books with my pocket money and borrowed them from the library. At Christmas I often received a book or two from various aunts and uncles as well as grandparents. They usually wrote inside the cover so that you knew they had bought them for you.
This week’s Food 4 Thought is about One Book from our childhood. Goodness me, what a tough task. There were and still are so many. I kept many of my childhood books and now have them on the shelves in my little office. They sit among my adulthood favourites, books on nursing and leadership and many more. Including books my son discarded at the end of his own childhood but I can’t bear to part with. That includes a number of Roald Dahl books. I still have Enid Blyton famous 5, What Katy Did, Little Women (and the rest of the series). More contemporary books (from the 1970s) like It shouldn’t happen to a vet which became All Creatures Great and Small. But the book I wanted to talk about – The Girl in the Opposite Bed by Honor Arundel.
I don’t know where it has gone, but am sure I wouldn’t have thrown it out. Maybe there’s another box in the garage I haven’t unpacked yet. This was a book about a girl who is in hospital for a week or two. While there she encounters a girl she doesn’t like at first but whom eventually becomes her friend. But I can’t remember the exact story and can’t check it since it is out of print.
That book helped to define me in terms of my future career. Because after reading The Girl in the Opposite Bed I moved on to books about nurses (especially the Sue Barton stories). As well as others about people who were sick or injured. I must have been a fun loving adolescent!
One book I still have, that is older than The Girl in the Opposite Bed would be is Mrs Cockle’s Cat by Philippa Pearce. This is important not because of the story, though it is a good one about an elderly lady and her cat. But because I was given it as an award at primary school. I wrote a story and won a book.
Since then I’ve continued to write, but mostly for my own pleasure. As I’ve mentioned before I used to write stories in longhand as a teenager and young adult. But until I entered the Smut Marathon in 2018 I hadn’t submitted my fiction to any other competitions. Over the years I’ve lost my confidence in writing fiction and I no longer find it as easy as writing non fiction. Thinking about it, I’m maybe just a bit out of practice.
Next year I’m going to be much more specific about my goals. Later in the month I’ll publish those goals and writing fiction will be amongst them. Because if I could win a prize at around 10 years of age I’m pretty sure I can write something worth while at 57.