I’ve been thinking about it recently i.e. whether writing is hardwired into your genetics. Obviously environment plays a huge role, and a love of books and words can be nurtured or discouraged within families. I was lucky to have had it nurtured, but many of my writer friends didn’t have that experience. In spite of this, they found their way to writing.
I grew up not knowing either of my grandfathers and only heard second hand tales of them, which never included anything about books or writing. Then a few years ago my brother, a keen community and military historian, compiled our recent family history. In it were letters from my paternal grandfather to my grandmother (his wife) when he was away at war. I was fascinated and humbled by the eloquence with which he wrote and I knew at that moment, that I would never write that well. That didn’t disappoint me, he was working at a whole other level of heartfelt emotion and authenticity, and faced hardships that make me quail years later. It did, however give me a sense of validation about my writing; I was meant to be doing this.
Not only me, but others in my family as well. Which brings me to my brother Paul, and the real reason for this post. Paul is a farmer, and ex-Vietnam veteran, an ex-country footballer, a guitarist and songwriter among many other things. He has been a strong constant in my life and I’m pleased we share a love of books – albeit different kinds.
He now has a website and has just released his sixth book, entitled Under Two Flags which tells the story of a little known slice of Franco-Australian military history. In 1939 sixty-five French Nationals living in Australia were mobilized and sent to join the French Colonial Forces in Indochina. The book tells their story and is full of original photos and documents from the period. I’m very proud of the history he’s recorded in his books; important things that should not be forgotten.
Last year saw my darling twin nephews also published their first book, a engrossing collection of stories about emerging into adulthood which they edited and contributed stories to. The book is entitled Out of the Frying Pan.
So do I believe in a writing gene? Most definitely. Thank you Grandfather Guy.