Guest Post by Florence LeFevre
I’ve wondered, over the years, about that simple question. Why do I write?
I’m an average person, with an average life, nothing out of the ordinary. Just plain me, with my family, friends, and addictions to TV Shows and salted caramel.
But still, I write.
The cliché is every writer is first a reader. Of course, I’ve always read a lot, all kind of books, all kind of stories (with the exception of the 50 Shades trilogy. So not going there).
I love reading. Simple as that.
But reading ain’t what made me take a pen to school one day, when I was bored and wrote my first lines of poetry – a very bad poem about the boy I had a crush on at the time.
I’ve always been the black sheep throughout school. Imagine being in middle school, having your mother as a teacher, and your grand-mother as the director. Thrilling, right? And a good way to ensure you never have any friends.
I grew up lonely, apart.
Then I moved to high school, and the Powers that Be decided it could be fun to have all the teachers’ kids in the same class, and to add to the fun, have our parents as professors. Yeah, they had a sense of humour that hasn’t been matched yet.
So I had to feel my world. Of course, books would do it. I mean, I traveled a lot with Jules Verne, solved cases with Agatha Christie, lived adventures with comics and a ton of other books… It could have stayed that way.
Then one day, in what we call here “college” and which is basically school before high school in your neck of the woods, we were assigned to write the end of a story, whether said story was a collection of images, or extracts from books.
We had free rein to start dreaming.
There were no barriers, no rules to follow. Just these few words “Imaginez la suite” which translates into “Imagine the rest of the story.”
I could set my mind free. Take these characters out of my head, create them on paper with a pen and ink, make them do what I wanted, what they wanted to do.
It lasted for a few months, then the teacher transferred to another school.
We went back to regular teaching.
A few years later, I became a counselor in a summer camp. I was in charge of teenage girls who didn’t give a damn about me. I was just another counselor they would have to break in. No big deal.
After a particularly difficult day, I deprived them of the “wake” a social gathering each evening that included the whole camp, telling them if they insisted on behaving like children, then they would be treated as such, going to bed early after a bedtime story.
The problem was, being in charge of 12 to 15 years old girls, I didn’t pack a fairy tale book.
I made up a story instead. Something cute, that would have pleased younger girls, about rabbits.
I didn’t plan for the girls to like it.
To ask for more.
To beg for more, promising to behave for a story.
So I told them stories, every night.
Every night, I could bring them into my word, into this fantasy I had built in my head, to meet characters that were either good or bad, interweaving each story into a larger canvas. Having tons of fun.
It became the rendezvous of the evening. After the wake, children would gather into my teenage’s room to listen to these stories.
On the last day of camp, the toughest of the girl came to me, hugging me goodbye before turning to her parents, telling me “You should write them down, your stories. So you could tell them all over again next year.”
So I wrote them all down.
I wrote down the entire story I had planned out in my head, the story I didn’t get to finish telling them that summer because I ran time.
It’s still there, in my drawer, written on so many different papers, with so many different inks, some fading, some resisting the passing of time.
That’s why I write. Because, somehow, I can tell stories. Somehow, I can create a world out of words, out of my imagination.
I can make teenagers at camp happy for a few moments, help them forget about their problems with the story of a woman waiting for a man on the dock of an Irish port.
I can create laughter, or tears, or fear ..
I can do magic.
Florence Lefevre lives surrounded by French Castles, is newly devoted to yoga and aspires, one day, to become a published writer. She works full time and is married with one daughter. Enjoys a glass of wine and cheese while the rest of the world is still working.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.