About Me — Maria Rattray
Is it just me, or is this an anxiety-provoking exercise for the shy violets among us who prefer to beaver away in the background?
After I had been writing on Medium for quite a while, and following a few nudges from online friends, I reached the lofty conclusion that it was time to write an ‘About Me’ page.
And so I started. And I lived happily ever after!
I started so many of them…and binned them just as quickly.
Then I thought I could write a tongue-in-cheek one, in poetic form, using Dr Seuss’s poetic license, and his sense of humour as my inspiration.
Then I decided I’d go for broke. I’d write both. That way, if I manage to inspire you through my poetry, you might forgive any experience of boredom thereafter.
So here it is!
A plaintive Dr Seuss poem about HAVING to write an ‘About Me’, page.
Good morning to you.
Today I must think.
Of the thing I must do.
’Cause I have to,
I have to,
I have to, you see,
Write something exclusive
Which is all ‘About Me’! I can, and I have
Written many narrations
For schools plays and such,
Using smart iterations.
I love to write speeches
For weddings, and such.
I’m told they are good.
I don’t charge very much!
I’ll happily proofread
Some writing you’ve done.
Believe it or not,
I find it quite fun.
But writing ‘bout me?
That makes me feel blue.
But I have to, you tell me,
So this I will do.
THE END! Just had to add this. My young students used to add this just to let me know they’d finished their writing. Old habits…
And so onto the real:
For much of my life I have written poems for all kinds of occasions, birthdays, weddings, and responded to off-the-cuff requests for farewell speeches at work, written narrations for school plays, plus seriously-challenging narrations for musicals.
So often I have written weddings speeches for friends, and obituaries for others.
Yet when I am called upon to write my ‘About Me’ page, I am stumped.
Why is that?
To be honest writing an ‘AboutMe’ story is akin to having major surgery, where the pain sits there as a constant reminder, like an unwelcome guest, an irritant that doesn’t inspire creativity.
I’m a writer, yes, but I once was a teacher, and before that a student, and before that…
My name is Maria. I was born and educated in Scotland, but came to Australia some two years after finishing teacher training, for two years, and that two years has equated mostly to, for the rest of my life, as I met and married my Scottish-born husband in Adelaide.
True story: I served him a second helping of Haggis at a Robert Burns’ dinner. That is what clinched the deal! Up until that night, neither of us had tasted the said haggis! I’m told it is an acquired taste, in which case, we acquired it that night. It’s a very tasty dish!
Scotland is a very beautiful country, but with rugged beauty comes freezing cold conditions for too much of the year. There are many things I miss about my country of birth. COLD is not one of them!
So, I have spent the rest of my life living (mostly, but not always) in Australia, Canberra for the most part, you know, that place where politicians hang out, when they’re supposed to be working! That’s the place!
I have spent many years of my life teaching, as well as being a TESOL teacher, (teaching English to overseas students), which I loved. I also did a graduate diploma in professional writing.
I still keep in touch with quite a few of my old students, and that is something I truly love. They are now adults with their own children, so, that they make time for me, pleases me in ways they might never imagine.
But it’s also a measure of time flying, and there being work still to do, things to achieve, and marks to be made.
These days I spend lots of time writing on Medium, where I am also an editor on Illumination.
This photo was taken in Australia. I have no idea where! ‘Twas a long time ago, as you can see by the trendy furnishing!
Writing is one thing, but having people read and comment on your work, means such a lot.
I write about things that are super-important to me, the environment, climate change, parenting, education, and health. Yes, ’tis a little eclectic, and maybe I have to find my niche. There again, maybe not!
That I ever considered I could be a writer, is amazing.
One of my high school teachers suggested to my parents that I had an over-the-top imagination. The tone of the delivery was suggestive of its not being a great asset. At the time I felt quite incensed about that. Imagination is everything in writing.
This ‘report’, by the way, was in response to my writing about a man who had been walking in a dense part of the forest when a branch of a tree collapsed in front of him, pinning his left arm beneath one of its branches.
As a doctor, he realized that he had little time at his disposal. There was no likelihood of anyone passing by, so it was up to him to take action and save himself.
The man lay there, waiting and hoping, girding his loins for what he had to do in order to survive…making that first incision. And so he began the tortuous process of removing his arm with a very sharp hunting knife he always carried.
Truth be told, I’d read the story in a magazine that my father subscribed to, and though a gruesome story for a young girl, it had somehow embedded itself in my brain, and under exam conditions, popped back into my head as inspiration for an essay. The given title was, believe it or not, ‘Believe It Or Not’.
I thought my doctor story was absolutely appropriate! Can you imagine ANYONE slicing off his own arm?
So let’s say I probably didn’t get a great mark for it, and the negative feedback my parents were given, was enough to stifle any notion that I could write, for a very long time.
But here I am, an author, who helps others to write both creatively and correctly.
And if you have read to here, a big thank you to you. Audience is everything!
You have made my day.