Welcome back to The Story Behind The Story series. Today’s post is by Angela Guidolin, my writing buddy and a friend. Here’s somewhat mystical and inspiring story of her writing journey.
Since I was a child, reading has been a big passion of mine. It opened my mind to all kinds of possibilities, like travelling around the world to explore fascinating cultures and learn mysterious languages. I still remember vividly the moment I decided that I would work in a job or profession that would require me to visit many places, and possibly spend there at least a few years at a time. I was about ten and, having devoured a book about an airhostess, I couldn’t stop dreaming about that thrilling life.
When I was about twenty, it became clear to me that I wouldn’t be able to achieve my dream in the normal way (as a diplomat, air hostess, astronaut, or singer, for example), but had no idea how else to go about it.
As always, life surprised me. After graduating in Business Economics in Venice (Italy) in 1995, I went to London to polish my English. I had planned to stay for three months, but met my husband-to-be and three months stretched to eight years.
In 2000, I passed by my favourite esoteric bookshop in London, Watkins, and decided to have a tarot reading. Among other things, the tarot reader told me, “You will write a book in the next couple of years, but you have to study and prepare yourself for it.” No, I’m not making it up.
Although I had no idea of what I would write about, I heeded her words and, painfully, started to write my journal again. Painfully, because two years before, while typing at my workstation, my arms froze all of a sudden. My GP was unable to make a diagnosis and painkillers didn’t work. My body was in an excruciating pain, my muscles all contracted. At times, I couldn’t even walk or lift a glass. How could I write a book? One of the few helpful things that my GP suggested was to enroll in yoga lessons during a longer sick leave a year later. In that period, I also went to waterobic classes. Not happy about the very slow pace that my recovery was taking, I resolved to speed it up myself, attending courses on spiritual healing and trying different types of alternative/complementary therapies. So, instead of physical, my journeys were spiritual.
In 2002, my husband Sami and I made the decision to settle down in France. Before crowning our dream, we spent one year-and-a-half apart: I, in Italy working at my parents’ ice cream factory, and Sami busy selling our flat in London and then finding a new place in France. I joined him in September 2004, but after three years, I moved back to Italy with our daughter Sofia. Her birth made us realise that we needed to live near at least one of our families while she was growing up. Sami re-joined us a year later, only to stay for a few months. In 2009, he was already living in Folkestone and running a coffee shop in a partnership. Sofia and I moved in with him two years later.
While we were in Italy, though, the idea of writing a book grew stronger in my mind. I took classes to revise my English and learn the basic rules of creative writing, because I had chosen to write my book in English. I had so many things to talk about now and I was determined to let the world know about my experiences. In the end of the day, I had already achieved my childhood dream of living in different countries and exploring new cultures, especially when you take into account that my husband is Algerian. I felt entitled to pursue another dream: writing. I was eager to share the lessons I had learnt with other people, and at the same time I didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. No memoir for me, then. My life hadn’t been so special to compel people to buy books on it anyway. What genre would allow me to share my spiritual insights, the problems I faced, my political and philosophical ideals and doubts, my hopes and worries for the future of humanity and of our planet, and would allow me to travel to galaxies far far away? Science fiction, of course.
Fifteen years after the tarot reader predicted that I would write a book, I can proudly say that I have achieved more than just writing a book. After publishing a novelette, Homecoming, in the SF magazine Nebula Rift in June 2014 and the short story, A New Beginning, in The Folkestone 2014 Anthology in November last year, my novella, tentatively titled Across Spacetime, will be published in the hopefully near future by the US Fountain Blue Publishing.
The journey has been tough, with many moments of despair and self-doubt, but I’ve met wonderful people that have helped me through, like my hostess Gulara. And I have learnt so much on creative writing and on myself, that I can’t stop now. I’ve already started a sequel to Across Spacetime, and I hope to finish it in a year. So exciting!
Angela Guidolin is a SF writer. You can connect with her via her
- website http://angelaguidolinauthor.weebly.com ,
- Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/angelaguidolinauthor,
- LinkedIn account https://uk.linkedin.com/in/angela-guidolin-6832057, or
- Twitter account www.twitter.com/guidolin_angela