I have always enjoyed writing, in no small part because it often comes easy. Once I know what I want or need to say, I can often say it with fluidity and confidence. This undoubtably comes from having been a voracious reader since I was old enough to hold a book.
My mum tells the story of when my grandma – forever known as Garbar – challenged her about ‘letting’ me read three books at a time. Surely I was not able to follow all the stories, I must just be flicking through them? I then, at the age of six, told her at great length about the plots and characters of all three books. Apparently I even recommended one to her. Garbar lit a cigarette, declaring she was daft to have doubted me.
Words can create a friendship between you and a character. They inspire and teach you. They take you away from the world or even challenge you to go out and do something. For me, they do all this and more: they are my inner strength. When ever life presents me with a challenge, words provide the solution.
In April 2014, one such challenge occurred and this one took away my teaching career. Faced with this, I initially retreated into a good book. I stumbled across the Amelia Peabody novels created by Elizabeth Peters and this wonderful character, who had such a strong voice, gave me strength and inspiration in equal measure. So I decided that I would follow my heart and made my strength my new career.
I am now writing for others, as well as for myself. To separate the two, I decided to give the commercial side a name, albeit a deeply personal one. The name Fortis Anemone comes from a time when words did not come easily: when tiredness and stress caused a spell of aphasia in a family friend. Her and my mum were talking about all the battles they had both faced and how proud they were of this – “you’re an anemone woman really”. She meant amazing, but from that day on, we were the anemone women – at once both fragile and resilient.
The anemone women in my life; my Mum, my Nana, my Garbar, my Aunties, friends and colleagues, have all shared a love of words and the power they can have. Now, through Fortis Anemone, I will create a career by harnessing that power.