The Good Old Days

In my youth, I was one of those children who hated school. Stuck in cramped classrooms, each with their own peculiar odour, for several hours a day was not fun for me. Nor was I taken with our eclectic group of teachers, ranging from a religiously zealous substitute to a borderline psychotic art teacher who I’m sure derived sadistic glee from terrifying students. That man was a twat of the highest calibre. I even got yelled at for smiling once.

Such experiences, plus the bullying, informed my opinion that school is a prison. I don’t look back at my school days and feel that I learned anything; at least, nothing vital. Real education came later when I had the freedom of choice, rather than being forced to listen to whatever some faceless minister had decided I needed to know. The anatomy of a plant? Fuck off. MacBeth? Do one. How to climb a rope? I’ve never needed to do it since school. And just what the fuck was papier mache about?

I’m On To You, Teachers!

It may be no surprise, therefore, that I spent a lot of time clock-watching at school. Friday afternoons were the worst, especially past 3 pm. I once theorised that the teachers had messed with the clocks. My belief was that during breaks and lunch, the clocks gained time and then slowed down again in the afternoons to correct themselves. Consequently, the final “forty-five” minutes of a Friday lasted well over an hour. I assumed that they did this as a deliberate demoralising fuck you to those desperate for their two days of freedom away from the soul-destroying grey walls, gummed up desks and rotting textbooks.

Any complaint about how slow school days felt was always met with an insistence that I treasure my school days because life moves quickly afterwards. Ha! What a load of bullshit, I thought. What do you know? It is all true. High school doesn’t feel that long ago. I can still remember using my Prefect privileges to bunk out of lessons on made-up errands. The memory of playing hockey is still fresh in my memory. Heck, even the hour-long commute to school is more vivid in my mind than whatever the hell I did this time last week.

Where Does the Time Go?

And yet, here we are. It’s already October 2017. Ugh. I’m not far from 34 years old now. A couple more years and it will be a full two decades since I left school. Time does seem to fly by as you get older, after all. Well, that sucks. I’m old enough to remember when MTV was a music channel. I can remember when GOLD was called UK Gold and didn’t just repeat Only Fools and Horses all day, every day.

Hell, I can remember both the time before the Internet and the time when if I wanted to run a website like this I’d have to build it in fucking Frontpage! I’d need to upload it via FTP on a 56Kbps modem that would drop connection whenever someone phoned the house. I even remember when your landline was used for something other than phoning your misplaced mobile.

Ashes of the Forgotten

It has been a few years since I decided to try and write a novel. Likely, somewhere, in the depths of my hard drive are some early drafts and ideas. I imagine they’re fucking terrible. It’s been quite the journey to get to this point. For a time, I studied Creative Writing with the Open University, scrawled a few short stories and poems, read a bunch of guides and all sorts of things to improve my non-existent craft.

I set deadlines and failed to meet them. Finding time to write, revise, edit, etc. while acting as a carer has been a challenge. On many days I would rather unwind in front of the television, or shoot things in video games. Perpetual tiredness has meant I’ve had to force myself to work on Ashes of the Forgotten. Now, however, I am almost there!

During October I intend to do some hardcore revising and editing on my debut fantasy novel. I do so in the knowledge that I’ll be lucky to sell five copies. However, it’s a challenge I set myself, and I feel encouraged to have gotten this far. You can expect a few more posts about Ashes of the Forgotten and my progress on the novel over the coming weeks. Don’t worry, though; I plan to avoid becoming one of those tedious authors who spam up everybody’s Twitter feeds with adverts for their books!

Ashes of the Forgotten Cover | Kath Rella