I’ve always written something. I began with poetry and songs. I wrote my first song at 4 (it was called ‘Thunder and Rain’ and consisted of lots of piano banging) and my first poem at 5. I was praised for these things and so kept on doing them, all throughout my childhood. I loved re-writing fairy tales as a kid and I’d record my re-tellings into an old tape recorder of my mom’s (yes tapes! remember those?).
When I was very small I was taken out of a very bad home situation to live with my grandmother, who was wonderful. She gave me unconditional love which was amazing, and she was a lover of reading, of stories, books and history. She taught me to read and encouraged me to write. She always said ‘you’ll be a wonderful writer’.
But then I was taken away from her again because ‘birth parents are best’ (not always true BTW) and put in school after school after school and I was really really bad at school (undiagnosed ADHD/ASD I know now) and was actively punished for being creative (I would sneakily draw intricate world maps in math class or world-guides and character studies in science) and even in the classes I loved, I never turned writing in on time and so was always reprimanded.
I wish ADHD had been known to effect girls when I was young. But it was ‘only a thing in boys’ and so I was defined at best as ‘bright but unmotivated’ and at worst ‘stupid and lazy’, – and I lost all confidence in myself very quickly.
I left home early, and managed to make it into college, on a creative scholarship (I sang my way in, full stop) where I struggled through a music and creative writing degree, but crashed and burned and dropped out a few credits shy. Everything happened at once at that point, including finding out I was queer and long story short, I ended up one of a whole bunch of ‘homeless youth’.
But I kept on singing and writing. I used to sit on the sidewalk with the other punk street kids and instead of just begging, I would write little poems on scraps of paper, roll them into scrolls and sell them for a few cents.
Things got worse before they got better, but they did get better. A few wonderful people helped me, and after a while I got jobs and homes and relationships like everyone else. I quit or got fired a lot, from ‘normal jobs’ because I couldn’t fit the mold, basically, but I kept singing and writing songs and poetry and then began making the majority of my living from music and performance – still am. Which when I stop and think about it is pretty awesome. I even published a poem and got paid for it!
And I gained a little self-confidence. Just a bit. I still told myself I was good at singing and writing songs and poems. That was it. I wasn’t a ‘prose writer’.
But I had all of these characters and stories in my head. Sometimes I’d sketch them out, and many times I’d think about them, what they were doing with their lives, but I told myself I wasn’t able to do anything like write a whole novel!
But then, one day, I stopped telling myself that. And the minute I did, the characters in my head began telling me their stories, in a flood of personality and plot and world and everything else. I HAD to write it down.
So I did. One novel done and in the world and more planned behind that. I hope I get them all written. I KNOW I can write them.
Plus, I’ve a huge and wonderful support system in all of YOU. My friends, my fans, my readers. So thank you.
Oh, and I’ve a shiny new diagnosis now. Turns out girls and women DO have ADHD. So Yeah. There’s that.
I’m Aisling. I’m a writer. I’ve always been one. I can write anything I put my mind to, within the limitations/conditions of my neurodivergent brain. Which I’m still working on figuring out.
Thanks for listening!
More to come soon!