It’s been a while…

21 Jan

It’s been a while since I posted on this blog, but then so much has happened over the last eighteen months.

On a personal basis, a family bereavement stopped me in my tracks.  My mother had been ill for some time, fighting Lymphoma.  I was desperate to finish the Ferret Files while she was still alive, and thus muffed the ending, which only became apparent on first read through.  Back to the drawing board for the last six chapters.  More importantly, from a writer’s perspective, I was faced with a huge dilemma.  The key event in my hero’s life is the death of the father he didn’t get to know.  This is an allegory for the relationship with my own father, which was strained for many years (to put it mildly).  With him being a good few years older than my mother, we’d always assumed as a family that he’d pop off first.  But then the stubborn ole bugger never has done anything according to plan.

That was Sept 2013.

The death of a loved one certainly brought clarity to my life and gave me a whole bunch of hitherto unexplored emotions to draw on in my writing.  It also made me question what I was doing.  Is writing really that important?  I’d grafted very hard to accomplish something, only to get it wrong at the last.  Perhaps I should have spent more time with my mother, rather than keeping my head down and persevering with the details of an imaginary world.

And so it was, with great pain in my heart, I put my writing down while I worked through the trauma.  My mother used to be a teacher, which is where I get my love of literature from, including comics, which was part of her dissertation.  Later on, she fell into business and ran her own successful employment agency.  As I discovered, she also had a secret life beyond all of this, which none of us knew about.  I suspected, but it was only once she’d gone that confidentiality was surrendered and all the pieces fell into place.  She was an amazing woman to have three lives.  So competent.  Yet at the end, so feeble and addled with massive quantities of prescription drugs.   That’s what hurts the most, the loss of strength and vitality.

I miss her and I want her back

For a while I thought I was writing Ferret for her, and with her gone, there was no point to anything.

It’s taken over a year, but I now realize that I’m writing for me.  And for you.  Because ultimately, it’s the YOUs of this world that have helped me get through the loss.  The real life YOUs, who say hello on a daily basis, who chew the cud over a noisy beer.  The Facebook YOUs who I laugh and joke with, but have never met.  The Twitter YOUs, who make me giggle out loud with your delicious sense of humor.  The Pinterest YOUs, who are so inventive it hurts.  There is pain out there in the world, yes – but there’s also so much more.  As an author, it’s my job to find the good in all that pain, and turn it around into something positive.  I’ve never stopped loving, but for a long time I did stop feeling loved.

Opening up was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do.

It was also one of the most rewarding.

I want my mum back, just not the mum who died on me.  The one before she got ill.

I’m descended from Vikings.  Hence the Old Gods suit me.  They suited my mother too.  She used to like a good drink, a cuss and a swear.  I can’t imagine her sitting on a cloud, playing a harp somehow.  Neither can I imagine her sweating in chains, moaning.  If she’s anywhere, she’s with Odin tossing axes in his Great Hall, sloshing beer with the gods.  The code she lived by was a Viking code.  She wasn’t perfect by any means, but she always did her best to show respect and not hurt other people, even when she was off pillaging in her long ship.

Here’s raising a glass to her in Valhalla!

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