The Scribbler over at Domestic Scribbles chose this week’s word, and she chose the word ‘Ten’. I felt that as I have recently started writing my ‘Tuesday Ten’ posts, I couldn’t really interpret this word by doing a list of ten things – that would be cheating a bit. I tried to think of any resonance that the number ten had for me and in the end I emailed my mum with a question.
‘Can you remember,’ I asked her, ‘what I wanted to be ‘when I grew up’ when I was ten?’
I had tried to remember the answer to this myself, but had drawn a blank. I think I had already given up on a career in ballet by that point (I have neither the figure, the patience nor the pain threshold) but couldn’t remember where my ambitions lay.
The following day, the answer came back. ‘When you were ten,’ my mum replied, ‘you changed your mind every ten seconds.’ How appropriate for this weekword – even my correspondent is joining in. ‘You wanted to be a fashion designer at one stage then became interested in politics and wanted Elinor Goodman‘s job as the political editor on Channel 4.’
When I read that, I remembered both ambitions very clearly. I remember the endless drawings of dresses and the cutting out of lots of bits of fabric. I remember the fashion books I got out of the library. I also remember the avid watching of the news and the interest in politics, and I do remember watching Elinor Goodman on the TV and thinking that I’d love to do her job.
More than twenty years have passed since then, and I am now thinking about how much of my ten year old ambition is still in evidence. Well, I’m no fashion designer, certainly. I am not even much of a follower of fashion now I live in the depths of the countryside. I live most days in jeans and jumpers, with wellies for outdoors and slippers for the house. But I love fabrics and textiles, I love making things, and enjoy fitting the right fibre, colour and texture to the thing I want to make.
And the politics? Well, the interest continued, and I did Politics at A Level, and after university I joined the civil service and spent four years working in Whitehall, briefing ministers, writing answers to Parliamentary Questions, asking the Treasury for more money and putting together policy proposals. I even wrote a few speeches. And I went to a lot of meetings and wrote a lot of emails and learned a lot of jargon. As for the journalism – not quite. I am an editor and a writer – and one of the things I’m writing is a novel set … in Westminster.
So perhaps I haven’t abandoned the dreams I had at ten after all. The fashion designer who grills politicians on the news has morphed into the editor and copywriter who writes political novels and does some sewing and knitting on the side.
And although my ten year old self may have been disappointed, I’m more than happy with that.
Pop over to Domestic Scribbles to see who else is playing.