Light another cigarette
Shed another tear
Yet another bad stage
Back to the world of fear

– Judi Reed, 1986

Yes it was a long time ago, and this was an excerpt of a longer piece I wrote. Shortly before I stopped writing because the rules I was taught at school about how to write, and what poetry or prose, or short stories should look like and be like etc. didn’t work for me. I remember tearing all my younger work up about twenty years or so ago, because it I felt it wasn’t valid. But these four lines, of one piece are indelibly etched in my memory. I wish I’d never torn up that earlier writing. Now, I think it was worthy. No matter how clumsy, because I wrote things trying to fit with a structure that school had tried to tell me was how real writers write. That conditioning led me to stop writing, at all,for many years, because I had trouble following those rules, and it made me throw out so much stuff, thinking it useless, and not worthy. What I produced from my younger self, which I should have allowed myself to cherish, and learn from in my older self. I know there was lots of writing, but those four lines are all I’ve got left in my memory.