And, finally, to writing…

From the preceding pages, you will see that many people have helped to create, develop and nurture my love of language – my mother, Miss Lax, Mr Booth, David Martin, Bob Glover, Dave McIntyre, Winston Churchill, J F Kennedy and George Orwell.

Over the years, I have also been hugely influenced – and entertained – by the wonderfully crafted work of some of our great comedy writers: Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynns’ Yes, Minister and later Yes, Prime Minister, John Esmonde and Bob Larbeys’ Ever Decreasing Circles and Eddie Braben’s timeless masterpieces for Morecambe and Wise.

Yes Minister autographs

The cast of Yes Minister

By any means, I don’t pretend to be a master of the written word but, thanks to all these influences, I can put one word in front of another with a degree of clarity.

And that word – clarity – is what writing provides for me in my life. At work, if I need to provide feedback to an individual, I will always write it out first – because only that act of writing will enable me to provide completeness, accuracy and order. If I want to make a change to a significant system or approach, I will write a report which recommends the new course of action. And, in that document, I will generate influence by providing context, background, where we are now, where we want to be, the journey required, the hurdles to overcome and the benefits (there’s JFK’s influence).

Ever Decreasing Circles

Ever Decreasing Circles

Morecambe and Wise

And Morecambe and Wise

As a trainer, I create presentations initially by writing down bullet points on PowerPoint. But it’s not until I come to write the detailed trainer notes that the story of the presentation truly unfolds – which is when the slides have to be added to, deleted from or, at the very least, re-ordered. Likewise, when I began this website, I wrote little notes about each person as soon as I remembered something – whether that was on the train, in the office or whilst watching TV – I wrote it down straight away. But it wasn’t until I came to compose the detailed letters that the real shape and clarity formed around each character, the situations and how they shaped my life.

In several instances during the writing process, I have laughed to myself over the memories. In others, my emotions have overwhelmed me and the tears have flowed. Some of the letters have triggered both extremes.

Such is the power of writing.

One thought on “And, finally, to writing…

  1. Debbie Howard says:

    Simon, I have no doubt whatsoever – YOU ARE a master of the written word and don’t ever stop. Even if you only had the ability to make people laugh whilst writing, that in itself would be an achievement but you are so much more than just an incredibly funny and talented writer. I myself, do not have the words to describe your talents and there are a lot of them.
    I feel very blessed to be able to call you a friend and I shall read these letters over and over again (especially if I ever need cheering up) you were very wise to write everything down, because we do ‘lose the plot’ as we get older, well I have anyway (and I am going to regret that statement as I know you will be scribbling something down the minute you read this, that will probably include the words, Welsh and Blonde in a way only you can)!
    If you haven’t started writing your autobiography, do so soon. I have a feeling that people are going to want to know a lot more about you……

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