My humblest apologies one and all but I am in a reflective mood and I feel a deep compunction to explore my thoughts and share them with you. Those that know me well, are aware of my love of the “get up in the helicopter and look down on life” approach. Indeed the many posts on this blog to do with my part fictional part factual Writer’s World contain many references to my flying high in the sky in my cherry red Jaguar XK8!
Where am I in life?
As a writer I am finding my skin, slowly, steadily and with increasing confidence.
Living in Moshi, Tanzania and doing the volunteer work that I do presents an almost daily challenge of self introduction.
“Hi, I’m Gill. I’m here helping out at Good Hope Support Organisation,” easy part. What comes next is always an introduction to your history, that ever so important background.
Except that I don’t have an ever so important background, (not one that I feel is relevant anyhow) I am here to find my future and it will be far removed from my past.
It is with tremendous pride that I share with you my next line in the script of life here.
“I’m a writer. I’m here to finish my first novel and volunteer helping kids wherever I can.”
Job done, past in my past where it belongs, and my future path identified.
Please understand I am not disowning my past and the next part of my introduction invariably involves the my wonderful grandchildren, son and daughter (in law technically but not in my heart) and my close friends and family. But my self-identity has changed and that is what I am reflecting on of late.
Twelve long but very rapid months ago, prior to my leaving my home and family my son was trying to cope with the loss of his dad and the forthcoming removal of his crazy mum to another continent far across the world. He was at pains to understand my decision to up sticks and travel to East Africa. He supported my decision with his acceptance and good wishes but he worried about where I was heading in life. He became the adult in our relationship and gently asked if I was giving proper attention to my future. The subtle undertone was not lost on me, he is my son. He, quite rightly, wanted to know what was my long-term plan. Hey mum, you’re not getting any younger, was the undertone.
My heart went out to him and I sighed deeply, secretly I was revelling in not having a game plan. Secretly the idea of having “no fixed abode” other than my volunteer digs was exciting to me. Secretly I didn’t know whether I could realistically expect or want a future without Den. That was why I was going to East Africa.
My response was an honest and true statement. I told him that I could not answer his question at that moment in time, but if he needed something from me, to help him face up to the challenges of his own future, then I would ask him to accept the following version of the future me . It was as close to a long-term plan as I could muster:
“Imagine a seventy something, dotty old bat with a battered suitcase and a laptop tucked under her arm. She has no permanent address but lives by travelling and writing. Wherever in the world she visits she tries to help the kids whilst writing her books and stories. She returns regularly to any one or all of her part-time homes: in Norway with her son, in England with her very best friend in the world or her wonderful older brother, in Spain with her next *bestest friends, Anita and Don.”
* deliberate grammatical nonsense word for effect
My son grinned from ear to ear and said simply. “OK Mum, I can live with that. Go do your stuff.”
Clearly the image of me as a dotty old bat was no great leap of the imagination for him!
Paul, world and anyone else who may be interested. I think I am growing to love that dotty old bat image, it’s starting to feel more and more real as every month goes by.
Hi there my name is Gill, I help out with the kids at a project in ……………….. (insert country of your choice). I’m a writer. I write fantasy fiction and anything else that takes my fancy along the way.