My love for writing has always been a part of me and ever since I was a
young child, I was busy writing. If it wasn't my poetry, then it was me
creating sonnets or plays. I always loved writing; if I had no place to
write then I would spend hours just making up stories in my head. I always
kept paper and pens with me and created journals that had everything and
anything in it. From my poems to my likes and dislikes, to my short stories.
I will never forget when I was a teen scrapbooking became the popular 'in
thing' to do, but that was never me. I tried it once but hated it; I lived
for the A4 thick books that I wrote in.
I remember a few years back I had started writing a book that I wanted to
do, all about diabetes and prediabetes. What a hard topic, I know, but with
so many close friends and family suffering from this condition I wanted to
write about it. I used to go and visit my doctor; not because I was sick but
I wanted to make sure the facts I had written were accurate. I didn't want
to risk writing anything incorrect. The doctor eventually let me
use some of his medical books to do my own research on the topic. It just
shows to what degree a writer goes to perfect their book. I became my own
'journalist', finding people living with diabetes that I could write about;
giving them full credit of course. I have even had a lady tell me that she
hopes I complete this and publish it because the world needs to see what
it's like living with diabetes. Unfortunately, thirty thousand words just
ended up being hidden in the back of my study cupboard collecting dust, as
my busy lifestyle took priority.
I never knew where I got my talent from until my dad said to me one day,
"Justine, finish your book and I will give you all of your grandpa's letters
that he wrote when he was in the army, back in World War 2." Obviously, I
got excited and more encouraged to finish my book. I have never read any of
his letters and only really knew of them now. When I was done with my book,
I phoned my dad and told him. Five minutes hadn't even past and I received
all my grandfather's letters via email. I could not wait to open and begin
reading all of them, this was very exciting. It then dawned on me why my dad
delayed giving me these letters until I had completed my book. It was
because my grandfather was the person in my family that I had inherited my
talent for writing from. Reading them was an emotional experience, the way
he wrote his 'high English', and the way he explained things in such detail.
My teachers loved my poetry and always encouraged me to keep writing and
reading. Some of my fondest memories were of my one teacher asking if she
could read my poetry and the next time I got my poetry book back, she had
fixed all my spelling and grammar. She would always make me re-fix what she
had corrected and then she would tell me to bring it back to show her that I
had indeed fixed it. This, as a young child, always motivated and made me
feel that people out there believed in me. My English teacher always
encouraged us to read up on Oscar Wilde and W.B. Yeats, who even today are
my utmost favourite poets.
Just before my school years had come to an end, my dad asked me if I wanted
to be a pilot. With no objections, I jumped right into it with being such an
adrenaline junky. I have many likes such as writing and arts, but flying was
something that I loved. I also learnt to do aerobatics, which was the
pinnacle of my adrenaline-packed life.
I met the man of my life in my flying courier. Kyle (Paul) and I have three
beautiful children together, two girls and one boy. He has always believed
in my dreams and passions and always encouraged me to do what makes me
happy. He has played a major role with anything I have written. He loves
reading and I love writing so he always reads everything I write, and we
then chat for hours about my ideas. My flying slowed down to a complete
stop after the death of one too many dear friends. I felt a tad lost in
between that time and finishing my novel. I was lost in thought of what to
do with my life, as I wanted to achieve something, and it had to be big. As
a promise to myself I won't fly small aircraft again, but I still needed
that thing to excite me. So, I joined a well-known writers' college and
decided to get a certificate in the 'write a novel' course.
The minute I joined I knew, this was it, that pure excitement of writing
again was there. I couldn't sidetrack, it was done, I had paid for the
course and now it must be finished. I lived for my course. I worked
incredibly hard every day on it. By the time I had finished I realised;
"Wow, Justine, you did it. you just completed your first book." That pure
joy I used to get for flying I now get for writing. I knew that this was my
calling in life.
There were many obstacles in front of me whilst I was busy with my course;
three young children and we were also busy immigrating to a new country. But
I did it, I had finished at a writers' college with a distinction which was
such a great achievement for me.
We immigrated to New Zealand from South Africa mid-2019, which has truly
helped unleash the creativity in me. I have been inspired by the country's
beauty to get more creative with my writing.
Thanks to all my friends who have motivated me to write.
Justine J. Olckers