A misbehaving mind


“Susan…” I was never called Susan. Except when I was in trouble. I looked up; Miss Bedford, blue eyes wide under raised brows, looked down with a severity belied by the twinkle. “Daydreaming again…?” She sighed and shook her head… I said nothing. There wasn’t much I could say… or she, for that matter. I never had to teach my mind to misbehave… it already knew how, without any help from me. The lessons were always done, only the handwriting invited censure, a messy scrawl where the words, unable to keep up with the imagination, got away and went off to play on their own.

I spent years working on that handwriting, perfecting a passable tribute to my mother’s copperplate script. By the time I hit adulthood, my public handwriting even drew compliments. My private version, however, copied out the text of library books I could not afford to buy in a longhand scrawl that was both economical and just about legible.

Books mattered. The voices of long dead poets, contemporary authors and authorities on their subjects rang in my head. Stories danced with facts, creating a heady alchemy of wonder as door after door was opened on possibility and worlds unfolded to invite me in.

wilde quote

I had my favourites, of course. Some for their knowledge and the way they taught, others for the woven tapestry of words that became a magic carpet ride into alternate realities. Each had their own voice and some became as dear to me as if I could hear them. You can, of course… with the best books the words really do sing from the pages with an inaudible harmony. Whole choirs, sometimes, as the writer speaks the character’s thoughts, changing rhythm and timbre to suit the moment and the scene.

I didn’t analyse a writer’s style back then. I’d had enough of that under Mr Ward, pulling apart the great works of English literature, phrase by phrase, dissecting every choice of word and every overlay of colour. It took me decades to be able to read Dickens again after that. How could I know why such a writer had chosen this word instead of that? I was eleven… I knew too little of the history of that period, even less of psychology and less still about Dickens himself. All I knew was that these were the great classics of their time…. And I grew to loathe them…

…and anyway, I knew how writers worked. I lived with one. My mother didn’t agonise over the choice between ‘dog’ and ‘hound’, she wrote the one that felt right… the one that had its place on the page as part of her voice. Her stories were reported from the scenes she watched as she daydreamed with intent and wrote her books. My grandfather dreamed strange dreams and cast them into stories just as he cast the bronze sculptures he created.

Writing, I could see, came from within… and when you got it right, it was an art, not a craft.


For Colleen’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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48 Responses to A misbehaving mind

  1. I love going back to the beginning with other writer’s and reading about how and why they started to write too. Wonderful inspiring read Sue! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jack Eason says:

    Unlike you, my handwriting was and still is naff. Thank god for my learning how to touch type in the forces. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting, Susan….I mean Sue 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. davidprosser says:

    A wonderful read Sue.The different ways people look at the world of words depending often on how and by whom they were taught. Chalky White had a great deal to do with my love of the beauty of the written word even though I’d always been a reader. He taught me to write in such a way that it was slow enough to enjoy each word. I even took to writing copperplate. Now of course I write at speed before typing up and checking my words online.
    You have a wonderful way of drawing people in to your writing.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely description of the beauty of words, Sue. I taught cursive so have to do well. It’s a pride thing. I still make notes in cursive, but prefer typing as it’s faster. I took typing in school and then worked in offices before going into teaching. When I send letters to friends who don’t have email, I type and print them. I’ve always loved reading. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jenanita01 says:

    Took me a while to trust my own words and stop worrying if the ones I chose were the right ones…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Misbehaving in mind? Sometimes, that is the ONLY PLACE where you can be naughty! hehehe … Just kidding! But the thing is, Oscar himself did misbehaved even in real life; not just in the head. But what a brilliant author, he is.

    And I do not really pay attention to grammars like I did back then in school days. I write accordingly to my heart and feelings.

    Do you ever experience at time, when you know you write all the sentences with the right grammar and vocabularies, somehow it does look wrong when you really look at it and repeating it? I know that happens to me so many times. My 18 years old daughter said to me this …, “What is language but a man-made subject. Either it is right or wrong, it depends on the rules itself. But one can break the rule and not follow the books all the time, Mama. Sometimes, what outside the books are unknown and mysterious. Just don’t get yourself in trouble!” She joked on it towards the end. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on Barrow Blogs: and commented:
    A lovely post from Sue – or should I say… Susan.x

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Sue Vincent giving free rein to her misbaving mind.. brilliant..

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Go on – Let YOUR mind misbehave – You know you want to 😀 😀 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Ah…the fellow mind-wanderer. How wonderful that it happened to someone other than me. I was scolded by the nuns for constantly daydreaming. They would call on me, and I always had the right answer. I guess I could pay a bit of attention to what they were teaching, but I lived in my own imagination. The same happened to my son in 2nd grade..they tested him for ADHD issues, the social worker told us that he wasn’t attention deficit, just bored. He is a musician and professional writer today. ☺

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Daydreaming is good for us… except where there is a clear and negative impingement on normal activities. It is known to encourage us to be able to think outside the box and take in information when distracted… a skill we no doubt learn whilst daydreaming in class 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  12. noelleg44 says:

    Wonderful thoughts, Sue. My favorite books are where the voice comes through loud and clear, sings to me, draws me in. I also had really nice handwriting (courtesy of the nuns) when I was younger, but now I’m afraid to write notes because it’s become nearly illegible. Strange thing, I looked at my signature and compared it to my father’s, and you would swear the same person wrote both!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I enjoyed this insight into how you became interested in books, reading and writing Sue. I love to look at beautiful copperplate handwriting, such a shame mine was once described by my English teacher as resembling ‘a drunken spider crawling about all over the page!’


  14. Eliza Waters says:

    Why am I not surprised that you had a wandering mind? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  15. We have an early love of books in common. Also, I hated pulling apart books as well! Just let me read and enjoy!!
    My mind frequently misbehaves as well. Staid, well behaved minds are for the dull!


  16. Lovely thoughts, Sue. I have two forms of handwriting — pretty good public one for signing birthday cards, etc. and a private scribble for everything else. I write my first drafts in longhand — if it’s hard to read I’m not always going back and messing with the beginning. And reading — well, that’s what made me want to write, not poring over dissected literature.


  17. Sue, these quotes are amazing! I can’t pick a favorite! Love them all! ❤


  18. Pingback: Writer’s Quote Wednesday Weekly Wrap-Up from 9/9/15 | Silver Threading

  19. Helen Jones says:

    Lovely words, Sue! I do find my best writing comes when I just let it flow – often my most popular blog posts are ones that have only taken me a few minutes to write. I agree that we all need to let our minds ‘misbehave’ – I think it’s the key to creativity 🙂


    • Sue Vincent says:

      I generally fin the ones that just ‘happen’ …whether I like it or not and whether I want to write them or not… are the ones that seem to strike a chord… so I know where you are coming from, Helen!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Wow! I love all the quotes––so deep.


  21. D.G.Kaye says:

    I love this Sue: Writing is an art, not a craft. I too only got call Deborah when I was in trouble. It still makes me cringe when someone calls me that. Oh, and my handwriting is about as legible as a doctor’s – pretty bad, lol. xo 🙂


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