Writing on writing

Rewrite #2 PLUS: The great ukelele revival

Round 2 of rewrite week! The subject this week is Casualties of War (original), a story inspired by an anecdote my mother-in-law told me from her time as an evacuee. I’d be pleased to hear feedback on whether you think the rewrite improves the original.

This week I’ve been thinking about passion. I was interviewed last week by a fellow aspiring writer and blogger who got me thinking about the things I loved doing as a child. I’d sort of forgotten that I was always embarking on this project or that project, usually wildly ambitious projects, many of which never got finished. Trixie Belden stories, a musical, a sequel to a book I read at school. Mills and Boon romances. Even the story I wrote as an 8 year old Brownie to earn my writing badge was a sprawling epic covering both sides of seven sheets of A4 paper.

One of my other childhood passions was writing music with my ukelele and my tiny keyboard with different coloured keys for different notes. As a child, it never occurred to me that the ukelele was anything but a toy. Certainly, when my mother offered music lessons, that wasn’t on the list! And yet, all of a sudden, ukeleles seem to be in fashion. Amanda Palmer (formerly of the Dresden Dolls) is currently touring the world with hers. Guy Folligrey trounced the competition at London’s 12th Literary Death Match during the week with his ukelele stylings and Jake Shimabukuro seems to be popping up everywhere. There’s even a store called the Duke of Uke in Shoreditch.  Jake’s the one the media credit with starting the Great Ukelele Revival (I bet AFP would beg to differ) and he started playing when he was four.

It made me think: how many of us give up the things that give us pleasure as children because they seem like childish things? How many of us could rediscover our passion as adults by picking up those childish things? Check back in next week when I report on my experiment with reviving my old love of running around naked in the rain!

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3 thoughts on “Rewrite #2 PLUS: The great ukelele revival

  1. I think certain things – like blowing bubbles and finger painting – could be very therapeutic and liberating for many adults but I might not recommend eating Perkin’s paste or sticking peas up one’s nose. So perhaps some of the discernment of adulthood might need to be applied to revisiting childhood whimsy. Re: musical instruments of childhood, I have often wondered about the recorder. It’s one the first things they get you to play in music classes at school but what classical ‘recordists’ does one have to aspire to? It seems to an instrument solely for children … perhaps size (and price) does matter when it comes to the musical instruments of childhood.

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      1. Well I definately have no good memories of the recorder – I was hopeless at it, and not happy at all that we all were supposed to learn it. I was in the choir though, all through school. And so many hours at home singing in to the end of the extension cord. As a child I wanted to be a dental nurse (a cousin was one) and a Nurse (my mum had been one) – I would have been hopeless at both!

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