Writing presents itself with some amazing opportunities, the most obvious being that it gives you the chance to get what is on your heart out into the world. Even if no one reads what you have written, it is there – in print, and someday, someone might just read it. There is always the chance that your reader will take something from your work – whether it be in the form of entertainment, education, enlightenment or empathy – writing and reading offer endless interpretations, and that is something I will never cease to find incredibly liberating as a lover of both things myself.
While studying for my degree in creative writing, I had some amazing writing experiences and opportunities. One of these was getting published in the University's anthology of creative writing, Fire. In February the launch of the book of new writing finally came around and when I got my copy I was so excited. My story, Crohnicle, was in print forever, for anyone willing to read it.
For years I had wanted to write about having Crohn's disease, and in an autobiography module, I finally got the chance to have a go at it. With the help of my fantastic tutor, Tyler Keevil (check out some of his work here) some friends and family I wrote what had been on my heart, properly, for the first time in six years.
I think it's important that I make it clear that without my degree, my writing would never have developed enough to achieve this, and I have the amazing lecturers on the course to thank for that. You can read more about them here :)
Any writers reading this will know the feeling of seeing your name, and work, in print. It's the biggest sense of achievement imaginable. You really feel like you've made it, even if it's just for a few days, when the buzz begins to fade. But it never really goes away, when you look back and remember what you have done, it comes back.
I was working so I couldn't go to the launch but I was sent a copy of the book and have passed it around members of the family to read. Fire is full of interesting and unique stories and poems – and my story, a true story, one that was just waiting to be told.
Writing an autobiographical short story is terrifying. But in some respects, all fictions derives from experiences and is reflected in the writer. Anyone could be reading this. But for me, that's what writing is about. I like to think I write for a universal audience. Crohnicle is a story that I want everyone to read, yet no one, at the same time. It's a story about when I got diagnoed with Crohn's disease, something I think about every day. It's like a diary entry – I wrote it with a reader in mind, but didn't think anyone would actually read it. But they did, and it's OK. It's good, actually. It was published.
Sometimes, it's the pleasing your loved ones that's the most rewarding when it come to publications, and I think I did just that when Fire got passed around the family to read Crohnicle. You know when you think you're not that good at what you do, and then you see that your work has made someone cry? That's a powerfully rare feeling.