Elaine Marie Carnegie
It's Never Too Late to Succeed
by Elizabeth Green
Please welcome the remarkable Elizabeth Green to the Writers Journey Blog this week!
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO SUCCEED
On April 9th, 1959, my mother took me to an educational psychologist to measure our IQs. I was 10 years and 9 months old. I measured 149 on the IQ scale being used. 150 was MENSA level.
More importantly, in the test results letter, it says: “… she has an unusually large vocabulary for her age and was most successful when dealing with other tests which have an English basis, whilst her ability to associate ideas was excellent…”
Was it written in the stars that I would become a writer? Seems so, just takes a minute to percolate. In my first book, published on Amazon, you’ll find out why. I’m the sister of Sir Philip Green, apple of my mother’s eye and the main recipient of attention and encouragement in our household. I was the also ran.
The reason for the IQ test was to see why I was naughty at school. I was bored, not naughty.
At aged 18 I announced I wanted to be a journalist, and my mother invited her cousin over who edited the showbiz section at the Daily Mail. I was hoping to be invited to intern with him, but instead they told me it would be too difficult for me, and I should leave it alone. I felt squashed and desolate.
I did a Sociology degree, all the rage at the end of the 60s, and then did a teaching qualification. My first teaching job was in John Kelly Boys school in north London. A rough school, but it was my first teaching job, English and Social studies were my subjects, all chronicled in my book “Not in the Script.”
I kept writing for myself, always. I went to India in 1975 to sit at the feet of a guru. I still have the diaries and letters I wrote then, 40 years ago. They were useful in the part of my book about India. I keep everything, everything is useful for writing, I find.
I got married in 1983 and achieved my greatest production, three children. For 23 years, I was a stay-at-home mum. I went to a wonderful writing class. We wrote a small script which I still have.
In 2007, I asked my husband for a divorce and got some courage and rang The Jewish Chronicle and asked if I could write something in their paper, something about dating. I mention I’m Sir Philip Green’s sister. He’s much in the news, well known and sometimes controversial.
They checked me out and told me: “Twelve hundred words please, for Friday.”
I had just three days.
I wrote my socks off, and then asked my son, a journalist, to put away his “son” hat and put on his “journalist” hat, which to his credit he did. There wasn’t really time to be embarrassed.
It was thrilling when it was published in 2008. I wanted to hang it on the wall in my mother’s flat. Let me explain.
My famous brother, owner of many high street fashion stores including Topshop, was very newsworthy. So my proud mother covered every wall in newspaper cuttings. Pictures of him meeting the Queen, Michael Jackson, Kate Moss, over every wall. I called it the “Philip Green shrine."
My first piece was a full-page article. They’d sent a photographer to take a picture, which, unusually, I loved. Oh, I was excited, this could go on the wall. I worried she’d hang it above the toilet. She hung it on the lintel above the toilet door. “Why can’t it go on the wall where it can be seen?” I asked nervously.
She told me “I’ll hang you on the wall when you achieve something.”
As I say in the book on page 48 “Brutal, but I’m relieved. I know now I will never reach the required level of achievement. I’m off the hook. Achievement equals money in our family. One billionaire in the family is enough.”
The Jewish Chronicle published another 4 or 5 pieces several months. The wall was never mentioned again, but I was enjoying myself. My kids were old enough and didn’t need me, and I decided to move to New York.
I bought a business, a restaurant, boy did that keep me busy. But I found a writing class and attended every Sunday. I’m not sure they always understood my English sentiments, but I liked going with my assignment each week.
During March 2020 and the pandemic, the restaurant closed on lockdown. I have a PR lady for myself and the restaurant. I met Nubia at a talk one night. She said, as part of her introduction, “I’ve self-published several books.”
Afterward, I approached her and told her I’d like to publish a book. "Can we work together?" You understand although Americans speak English, it’s not our English. We butt heads a few times. But it gets done. It’s a lengthy process.
We’re just about to publish and I find someone I know on LinkedIn. Richard had been my editor at the Jewish Chronicle. We’d met once. I reach out and tell him I’ve just written a book and ask if he’d like to read it.
He says yes, and loves the book, but tells me: “If you want to be taken seriously as a writer, you need to do some work on the grammar. I’m happy to do that, for a small cost.”
“Ok, but only punctuation, nothing else.” I feel very protective of “my baby” as my book feels to me.
We published in November 2020 and I do interviews with the Mail, the Mirror and get other British newspaper mentions. After all, I’m Sir Philip Green’s sister, useful but unpleasant at times. Being a writer has been one of the best things I ever did. People are impressed, give praise, are excited for me. Me too.
It was a long journey but well worth the wait, to publish my first book aged 72.
BIO: Elizabeth is the sister of Sir Philip Green, one of Britain’s most notorious entrepreneurs. He unknowingly provided the background of her memoir. In 1975 she went to India for two years to sit at the feet of the guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Wild, Wild Country, Netflix). More color for her memoir. She is a divorced mother of three and former teacher. She was first published in 2008 in the Jewish Chronicle in the UK. She wrote a column about dating and relationships, one of her favorite subjects. In 2009 she relocated to New York where she bought and ran a restaurant. In November 2020 she published her first book `Not in the Script’ and was interviewed by several British newspapers, including the Daily Mail, and the Sunday Mirror where she spoke the book and her family.
In 2021 she closed the restaurant and became a full-time writer and collaborated on the screenplay of her book with her new business partner Joey MHz. They created a 20-minute film and are now looking for investors to make a TV mini series. She is currently working on another book: `Being a Woman in New York Sucks.’
Instagram: libbynotinthescript and notinthescriptmovie
Facebook: Elizabeth Green