On Being A Writer Who Couldn’t Write (Or Read) Well.
When I was six, I started at the best school I’ve ever attended. I loved it because I was given the individual attention and help I needed to succeed.
I was slow to develop practical skills, including reading and writing; I thought it was because of Cerebral Palsy making it more difficult to exercise fine motor skills, but I’m not sure it was that, really.
I am left-handed, and had nothing wrong with the left side of my body at all, only the right.
I don’t really remember reading much before I was eight. After that point, if memory serves, I liked non-fiction about animals and space, science and history, as well as novels. I really struggled with reading aloud initially, though.
It didn’t even occur to me that I would become proficient with these two skills, much less the level I’m at now.
My mother sat in on lessons so she could help to teach me better, and I will be eternally grateful that she did. She helped me with reading and writing and I improved, so much so that my reading was ahead of my age by the time I was nine.
I developed my imagination and wrote a lot from that point on, including poetry. Poetry was in fact the first form of writing I did outside of class, for my own enjoyment. My first efforts weren’t very good, but mum and dad would encourage me without fail.
The day I received my letter from the University of Plymouth telling me I’d been accepted, I was surprised and delighted. I would be studying English and Creative Writing, a subject I’d grown to love and be good at. Mum told me that she and dad never had a doubt that I would do a degree.
I remember feeling a lot of self-doubt, but I had worked hard to get where I was and would continue to do so.
My degree allowed me to write constantly, and like a muscle I improved my technique a lot, grounding my work in historical contexts and trying different kinds of writing, from short stories to scripts and mixed media pieces.
Poetry was the constant medium I went back to, but even then I didn’t consider myself much good at it. It was something I did.
Fast forward to February 2015, and I had begun a blog and writing poetry in earnest. I wrote for people, and the overwhelming response has been positive. I think poetry is the thing I was meant to do, and to think I never used to be much of a reader or writer is a scary thought.
I don’t know who I’d be without poetry, as it’s become so much of who I am. When I was trying to figure out what to do after graduating in May 2014, my sister told me, You are a poet.
Initially I was unsure, because it was something I had to really work at, but after the responses I’ve received, I know it’s something I was meant to do.
Some days I doubt my ability to do this one thing I’ve become truly invested in. This stems from the beginning, sitting in class, struggling. But the struggle has been worth it. It’s the most valuable thing I can offer.
Josephine Hicks is a poet living her best life and listening to the call of the Universe for her purpose. She longs for a questing existence. Challenge is something she embraces (after digging her heels in a little…) and she is a fighter at heart. She loves love. Unable to settle for long, she is an adventurer. She wants to honor those who are the best at what they do. Fearlessness is her aspiration, and nature is her teacher. You could contact her via her website.