I was around 2 or 3. Our house at that time, in Torrance on the outskirts of Glasgow, backed onto a field filled with grass almost as tall as me.
It was a miserable day – probably goes without saying for Scotland – and as I watched the wind batter the grass this way and that, I turned to my parents and announced, “the grass is dancing!”
What an imagination, they said. She’ll be a writer, they said. They soon came to regret this.
Monday mornings in Primary 1 were for sharing news, and on one otherwise dull morning I announced that my mum had had a baby the night before.
I was thrilled when the teacher wrote my big news on the blackboard for everyone to copy, and all day long basked in the excitement of being a new big sister. I was somewhat less thrilled by everyone’s reactions when my mum, still very much eight months pregnant, waddled in to pick me up from school. “I couldn’t think of anything else interesting to say,” I reasonably explained.
By the time they had been called in to school to be questioned about my twin sister who was kidnapped, discovered that half the kids invited to my 7th birthday party (and provided with loot bags) were imaginary, and confronted at parents’ night with a roomful of teachers all under the impression that my name was Kylie, my parents had started to seriously doubt my sanity.
Luckily as the years trundled by, I mostly grew out of fantasising (though cheerfully
apply Mark Twain’s advice to never to let facts get in the way of a good story) and set out to pursue a life that is as interesting and random and entertaining as I could ever invent.
Mae West once said: “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough”, and that’s pretty much my mission statement.
I’ve run out of petrol in remote Queensland in the middle of the night, had breakfast with a retired gangster who may have confessed he was involved in the Patty Hearst kidnapping over scrambled eggs, and spent a weekend snowed in with an increasingly tedious coked up rockstar. During the years of my technicolored dream career of many day jobs, I accidentally showed up slightly drunk to a temp secretarial job from which I’d been fired and no one had told me, dressed mannequins in Vancouver and took minutes in a meeting at which some of the UK’s top defamation lawyers gravely discussed the fact that one should never eat anything that comes through the post from Sharon Osborne. I’ve been quite sure what I was supposed to be doing at an oil refinery in Ohio, but I did get to keep my hard hat and steel-toed boots. Then I moved to Sweden for no particular reason, where I taught pre-school and led historical tours of Stockholm by kayak.
Several times I’ve been caught scribbling stories furiously under a reception desk, or in the changing rooms when I was the worst sales assistant Gap has ever seen. Once I managed to hide in a gigantic filing room at a City law firm for several days to complete a screenplay without anyone noticing I was missing.
Luckily – and probably for the good of all mankind – I now write exclusively, and out in the open.
I work as a copywriter and blogger for clients ranging from sportswear brands to tourism to tech startups, my first feature film is due to shoot next winter, and I’ll be launching a series of novels in early 2017.