As of this blog I have now surpassed myself. In age I mean. I have yet to experience the dizzy delights of turning 61 and yet, quite without the right boots, here I am. Post Woman’s Hour.
My mum used to listen to Woman’s Hour a hundred years ago whilst I enjoyed Listen With Mother, sitting as comfortably as I ever could manage. I loved the stories of Creatures and Fairies and Kings, and Animals with huge brains, and a great sense of right and wrong. Noddy and Big Ears, The Famous Five, Rupert the Bear, although, to be honest, Rupert was more a boy’s bear. Winnie the Pooh, on the other hand was anybody’s bear. Something to do with his lack of public schooling I think. He just bumbled about in Hundred Acre Wood and got stuck in doorways and had bonkers ideas that always made me smile.
Now it is not only I who listen to Woman’s Hour, but I was actually one of Jane Garvey’s guests last Monday May 27th, talking about my own book, Island Wife, published by Two Roads.
Who would have thought life could become as it has? From that little uncomfortable girl to a 60 year old with a book hitting the shops, a blog, some new songs in the making and book signings ahead next week in Edinburgh. A full day, in fact, beginning at the Edinburgh Book Shop at 9.30 and spinning through many more by bedtime. The next day, I have to be at the BBC Studios (again!) for an interview with Sally Magnusson for her programme ‘Sunday Morning’.
Next Sunday 07:05 BBC Radio Scotland (add it to your diary now so you don’t miss out)
All I did was write down my life. The feedback, the comments tell me it is unusual to write with such honesty, but I have nothing to hide as you will see when you buy your own copy. As stories I read during my own years on earth have helped and guided me, so I hope mine will help you in some way. Someone once said, wisely, ‘we read to know we are not alone’ and that person was spot on. It could be Avatar or Winnie the Pooh. It could be a quest to Everest or a lone woman canoeing the Amazon. It could even be a text book although all those proven facts worry me somewhat in a world where nothing is as it seems. I can lose myself in someone else’s life, picnic, journey, song and there will be something inside it that touches me, lifts me, teaches me something I may have known but didn’t know at all.
I don’t know what I thought my life would become, although I always knew the Hundred Acre Wood was an important part. When a writer lays down a story for children, he or she is not a child, but is looking back through their own lives to take hold of truths they still hold dear. The sparkle and twist of a sugar spun tale comes from experience and it is a gift we have who can bring it into today’s light and make it sparkle anew. We seek the values that take us out of our ordinary lives and into one that makes us dance. We read on because we want to know what happens in the end.
And when it does end, what then? Do we lift our sights higher, consider how we might change the parts of our textbook lives that bore the shenanigans out of us? Or do we put the book aside and do nothing?
It takes courage to step out. But therein lies the key. We don’t have to know how to do anything. We just have know why we want to do it.
That’s when Lady Providence steps out of the shadows to walk beside us. Inside every one of us lies genius.
We just need to believe it.