I am 11 years old when I first see my name in print. The poem is called My Dog and has been selected for inclusion in an anthology called Paws for Thought, published by Arrival Press in 1994.
It is a collection of poems by dog owners about their beloved pets, and royalties from the sale of the book will be donated to Battersea Dogs’ Home – which makes me happy because I like the work they do (based on what I’ve seen in their TV ads).
It is a real book, a sturdy 168-page hardback, with an ISBN number and everything; nothing like the babyish “books” I once created by folding sheets of A4 and painstakingly stapling them together along the fold to form a spine. I am proud to see my name listed alongside all the other (undoubtedly more established) poets on the contents page.
My nanna inscribes a message inside the cover (as she is wont to do) for posterity: “Carolyn’s first publication”. I am the only child to have a poem in the book and my age appears in brackets after my name, as if to emphasise this special achievement.
My nanna insists that I read my poem aloud in order to properly mark the occasion, and I do so happily – for I am now a published poet.