It started here:
Last day of the school year. Circa 1995. Morning assembly. I glanced between the hot arty guy and the scuffed toes of my black leather T-bars. The plump, voluminous piped fabric of my brown corduroy pants meant not only was I out of uniform, I was a rebel. Summer holidays beckoned, and I doubted things could get much better. Until they did.
My name reverberated through the faltering single-amp speaker and with hands outstretched, the Principal presented me my bounty. Flushed with a mix of awkward teenage embarrassment and pride, I clutched my coveted "Golden Pen Award". My over-zealous adolescent writing efforts manifested in a cheap, velveteen box. It wrote terribly but nevertheless chicken-scratched the tale of the birth of legendary copywriting services by this girl-from-the-bush-done-good. The rest is history.
Or perhaps my defining moments could be pinpointed to:
WORDS OF GRIT
Slinging hairbrushes, insults or any ammunition within reach. Despite our full-throttle sibling rivalry my determined ‘blood blister’ taught me more than most about loyalty, humour, grit and fortitude. And it was she who stood at my hospital bedside, squeezing my hand tight as I delivered my baby girl who doctors predicted wouldn’t survive. But she was born a fighter too.
WORDS OF WISDOM
Holding my breath while the only man I’d ever wanted to impress told me he’d had a change of heart: I should pursue University (and be the first person in our family to do so). When I managed to look my dad in the eye all I could do was cry. I ventured away from my sleepy hometown carrying every lesson my parents had taught me: Set your mind to it and you can do anything; If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all; Everyone poops.
WORDS OF FAITH
A reply email from a writer I admired enormously and its opening line declaring: “You can write. You can really, really write." This gem signaled that I could offer up my creativity to the world and it wouldn’t always be rejected. But even loved and welcomed and celebrated.
WORDS OF LOVE
Promising myself I’d play it cool yet dialing the number he gave me within hours, reassuring him I wasn’t a crazy person. 18 months later and we went from swapping numbers to exchanging vows: love, honour and cherish through thick and thin, in sickness and health, for rich or poor, racking up miles on that wild road faster than I dare to clock.
WORDS OF HEARTACHE
My roly-poly first-born gurgling “Ma-ma” while I questioned how the early years of motherhood could be so fulfilling yet so profoundly lonely. Or trembling in ER as the doctor gently offered to phone my husband to explain that our daughter - just three - would begin chemotherapy in two days’ time. Picking myself up off the floor, I turned to all I knew about self-expression and self-preservation. Thoughts poured out on paper and later, online, connecting with so many mothers bound by the same heartache.
WORDS OF AMBITION
One decade on from signing my twenty-six-year-old name across each dotted line that saw me with my first, fully-fledged business (and more revenue, responsibility, learning curves and success than a quiet girl from the bush could ever imagine), it is time. Here begins the next chapter - a new business, a re-imagined career and my fleeting chance to spend more time with my kids before they began to contemplate spreading their wings… with every word of wisdom and life lesson they’ve collected to date.
BIO: Nami Clarke is a writer, creative being and accomplished business professional. She launched The Prom Queen in 2017 after more that a decade’s experience running her first business. Her written work has been published by Huffington Post, Elephant Journal, Mamamia and more.
The Prom Queen showcases Nami’s wide-ranging expertise including copywriting, blogging, sales strategy, and expert use of language in a business setting.
Nami is an advocate for perinatal mental health, demonstrated by her ongoing community project Little Tsunami, and its support of COPE - Centre of Perinatal Excellence.
She lives in Bendigo, Australia.