I met Grace Tierney at a workshop for writers in Carousel Creates. Her ‘wordfoolery’ blog about unusual words, is a favourite of mine ;) She is originally from Dublin but now lives and writes in Co. Meath. She has written for everything from the local paper to anthologies, online media, coffee cans, and print magazines. She is the Ireland North East organiser for National Novel Writing Month and actually enjoys the challenge of writing 50,000 words in just one month. You can find out more at www.gracetierney.com and follow her on Twitter @wordfoolery
If this is your read of the ‘Letter to my younger self’ series – you can find out more here, auntyamo x
p.s. Grace really does love postscripts.
Over to her…
You don’t ever get letters, so I thought you might like one from me as you finish first year in secondary school. I’m 41 on this birthday, so now you know you live that long. Good news, eh?
I wanted to tell you, you know the other day when you were waiting for Mum to get a move on in Dunnes and you thought to yourself that you already know everything about yourself, where you fit in the world, and what you want to do with your life? You were right. Seriously.
No, you can’t stop going to school. It turns out that the whole education thing works out pretty well for you. You don’t know everything, yet, but you do know yourself very well. The stuff that is important to you is still important to me 29 years later. And get this – you’re still best mates with Marie, Sheena, and Kerri. Even better news is that you’ll pick up more friends like them, all over the world.
In case you think this letter is a hoax, here’s something only you know – you want to be a writer. You haven’t even told your adored only sister, Bronwyn. It’s ok, you can keep it to yourself for a while longer. But keep filling those copybooks with your novels, because one day you’re going to finish one. Actually, more than one. Just remember to keep writing, even when you try out other careers for size. Because yeah, Sister Katherine is as wise as she likes to pretend. You do actually need to do a bit of living before you can write about life. So yeah, that big romantic storyline with Louis in Geneva? Bad news, you can’t write that novel until you’ve fancied a boy and learned French.
Don’t roll your eyes at me like that. Your French is going to improve – a lot. You’ll be fluent before you know it, seriously. And men – yeah – they actually aren’t the enemy. I know, no brothers, no male cousins, no male friends, all girl school, no mixed hobbies. You are so confused. Oh I wish I could see the look on your face when you realise there’s 90% men in your degree class. And that some of them are nice. You are going to love college.
There’s one thing that doesn’t work out quite how you imagined. Please don’t be angry with me, I know how much you want this one. You don’t live alone in a small cottage in the woods. The one you’ve been saving up for since you were six. But please keep saving, I did use it for a house in the end, mostly. Some got spent on travelling – you were right, you love travel and it is WAY more fun without your parents getting mega-stressed over every tiny detail.
The thing is, the house I mentioned? Well I share it, and not with my friends, I share it with my husband and two kids. They’re nearly your age and they love books too. I know you’d be friends with them if time travel was possible. I even wrote them a book once with you in it as a friend for them. A bit like Famous Five, do you remember them?
Bronwyn will offer you all her old kids books soon, say yes, my kids are reading them now and they love them. That’s the other thing. Bron is moving on to Trinity now. You miss her horribly, but lean on your friends. It will get easier.
What else? Stop resisting dental checkups – demand a different dentist. You are, as you already suspect, more stubborn than Mum and Dad. Other dentists are nice and I really didn’t enjoy losing that tooth. The stubborn foot-down-thing works for your CAO form, walking the Wicklow Way at 15, and picking up Art for your Leaving Cert, too. You’ll have the parents whipped into shape by the time you hit 18.
Spend time with Granny Ferguson. Trust me on this.
Consider joining Scouts. I do it with my kids and I love it. I think you would too. Don’t bother with sea scouts – I still have motion sickness at the drop of a hat. Your love of the coast is going to have to remain land-bound. Your yacht, Indigo Dreamer, will have to remain fictional, sorry.
So, you were right, you already knew nearly everything about life. Whenever I’m not sure about a decision I think about you. And every time I lost sight of you, I’ve gone wrong. So keep reading to two in the morning, keep writing, keep dreaming.
All my love, Grace
p.s. I know you won’t believe me but one day, about 25, you’re going to discover that you’re not chronically shy anymore.
p.p.s. Write back, we’ve always wanted a pen friend.
p.p.p.s. Try the wine when you go grape-picking – it’s nicer than you think
p.p.p.p.s. Yes, I still love silly postscripts.