Family – Thursday’s Children


I can’t believe how fast Thursday’s Children comes around each week. But then again time in general seems to be whizzing by for me at the moment. If you’re not familiar with Thursday’s Children the idea is that you write a post on your blog about whatever inspires your writing.

I thought for this week’s Thursday’s Children I’d talk about family and how mine has gone some way towards inspiring my writing. My mum once told me that she thought me and my immediate family (i.e. my brother, my sister, my dad and herself) could almost write a story together. Her feeling was that we all had it in us to tell a cracking good yarn. So I guess in some ways I was steeped in storytelling as I grew up. When I was little my mum would tell me true stories about her own childhood which always began with ‘When I was a little girl…’ These stories were always so interesting for me as they would obviously involve not only her but her brothers (my uncles) and my grandparents. It was fun to hear about the scrapes she and her brothers got into.

My mum also enjoys creative writing herself and as I was growing up she always nurtured my craft. I would often share stories I’d written with her and she would give me helpful tips as to how to improve on what I’d written. I’m grateful to her for that. It’s been lovely to be able to share my work with her over the years.

While I was still only young my dad would read stories from the Bible to me. We had little booklets for children of single stories from it. My dad would read these stories to me and do different voices for different characters. One story used to make me squeal excitedly because when he got to a certain point, Dad would do a sudden nasty loud voice. I think it was one of the stories Jesus told about the servant who refuses to write off someone’s debt even though he himself has had his debt written off by his master.

I think I may have mentioned this in a previous post, but from a young age I would tell stories to my younger brother and sister. Some of them were about dogs tormenting cats with itching powder. My siblings ended up telling their own versions of the ‘Sniffy Dog’ stories. So I guess I inspired them too. Other stories I told them were about ‘Flopsy Bunny Rabbit’. The funny thing with the rabbit stories was that one time when we were in the car as a family in France, I began to tell a story about Flopsy Bunny going to Disneyland Paris. During that particular car journey, we started to see lots of signs for a certain theme park…

My brother and sister and I had no idea we were going there – it was all an amazing surprise. My mum later wondered if I’d twigged that we were going there and was telling that story deliberately. But I hadn’t. It was just a coincidence. I was being creative with my storytelling, realizing only that we were in the vicinity of Disneyland, so telling a story about that in particular.

Stories my grandparents told me have remained in my mind as well. One true story is really amusing. My paternal grandfather was in Spain many years ago. I can’t remember where he was or what he was doing there. But whilst he was out and about he came across a painting. As he was looking at it a man came up to him and asked him what he thought of it. My grandfather replied ‘Not much.’ The painting he was looking at just happened to be by Picasso. And you’ve guessed it – the man he’d spoken to was Picasso himself.

It’s stories like these which are really inspiring to me as a writer. My grandfather meeting Picasso like that is the sort of story I would love to be able to say I came up with. But although I haven’t, it’s inspiring to me to think that I might be able to emulate that kind of anecdote in my writing thanks to a wonderful story my grandfather told our family.

I’m sure it’s true for everyone that their families have inspired their writing in one way or another. It couldn’t really be any other way – families are a big part of our lives and our lives inpsire us, don’t they? I feel particularly with our families, it’s easy to forget that the way our families are have shaped us and not only us but the way we write. Sometimes, especially if our family background is difficult, we would rather forget them. But like it or not our writing is shaped by family.

If you would like to join in Thursday’s Children, just post on your blog whatever inspires your writing. Then add your name to this linky. Thanks to Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez for hosting.

17 thoughts on “Family – Thursday’s Children

  1. omigod, LOVE the Picasso story and would have LOVED to have seen Picasso’s facial expression. My mom didn’t make up many stories but she did read to me a lot until I learned to read. Her father apparently told great stories when she was a child but she couldn’t remember any of them 😦


    1. Thought people would like the Picasso story – such a great one. Like your mum I find it hard to remember some of what I’ve been told as a child. But it’s natural. I think over time so much gets lost from our minds when as adults we have a lot of important stuff to remember on a day to day basis.


  2. Love this Elaine! My mom was a writer too. She died when I was young, but I still totally feel like I got my passion from her. The funny thing is I was too self conscious growing up to be a story teller. I still kind of am. I’d much rather write it than speak it.


    1. Thanks Alana. It’s so sad that your mum died. But at least maybe you feel she’s a part of you in the way that you’re passionate like she was. I know what you mean about being self conscious. It can often be easier to write stories rather than tell them aloud.


  3. Poor Picasso! lol. Now I want to know what was said in the ensuing exchange. I write the stories of my family on my blog, preserving them there. My daughters go back and read them when they want to reconnect with the love or the thrill. I wish your grandfather could have had that outlet to preserve his tales–but he passed on the passion, and that’s just as good.


    1. I may be able to ask my dad what else was said between my grandad and Picasso, but unfortunately my grandad died some years ago so the chance to hear it again first hand is gone. It’s a great idea to write your family stories on your blog. That way – being in digital form –
      they’ll always be there. πŸ™‚


  4. The story of your grandfather meeting Picasso and dissing his painting is just wonderful. Family is so important and I definitely agree with you that they shape our writing even if it’s as simple as supporting our writing dreams. Great post.


    1. I think you’re right – family is important but it’s easy to forget that when, say a family member has annoyed you or you haven’t seen your family for a long time due to the pressures of work. But stories and storytelling can definitely bring families together.


    1. What you’ve said about family stories helping our relatives live on after they’re gone is so true. I think that remembering stories about them/stories they told enable them to live on in our hearts.


  5. Great story about Picasso πŸ™‚ My family doesn’t inspire my stories directly, but they definitely raised me among books and with a love for reading and writing. Hope you have a great week!


    1. Thanks. Yes I was always reading as well as writing too as I was growing up. When I was a young teenager, I would carry a pile of books around with me. The one on top of the pile was the one I was currently reading, the rest the ones I was going to read next!


  6. Elaine, you had me smiling from “crackling good yarn.” I think it’s impossible to craft a story that ins’t someway inspired by your family and your upbringing. Thanks for sharing, and may your yarn be plentiful!
    ~Dannie @ Left to Write


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