As a child I suffered from croup, a nasty chest problem that kept me and my poor mother awake many a night while the rest of the family slept blissfully. Fortunately for me, Mum was great at making up stories, which is almost certainly why I became an avid reader.
The croup turned to asthma, which meant that I missed out on quite a lot of schooling, especially in the winter months. My siblings were at school, my parents worked in the shop they owned, and I was wheezing at home. Maths terrified me because every time I got back to school the maths class was working on something that made no sense at all to me. I was a word person.
Fortunately my parents were both readers and days spent alone at home meant that I could feast on words. My favourite reading turned out to be a full set of Charles Dickens – he was very special in that every time I opened one of his books the characters seemed to step right off the pages and act the story out for me.
Because of him, I wrote a short story, typed it on my dad’s typewriter and posted it to the Girls Crystal magazine.when I was 12 or 13 years old. My hard-working mother coaxed her children into bed early every Friday evening by handing out our favourite reading material. Mine was the Girls Crystal magazine.
My parents were surprised when the kindly rejection arrived; later in life I found out that most people got upset at the first rejection and some vowed that they would never try again, but I was okay about my rejection. I still remember thinking, ‘I’ve got a lot to learn and I’ve got time to learn it. I’ll get there. And guess what? I did.
More next time.
Is there anyone there? If so, nice to meet you. I’m a formerly prolific writer, author of 40 novels plus several plays and short stories. Unfortunately, I was stopped in my tracks about 2 years ago by sight problems including a nasty thing called Macular Degeneration that knocked out a chunk of sight in my only decent eye, the other one being blotted out by a long-term cataract that had to be removed..
It wasn’t an easy operation; the cataract fought back tooth and nail but the fantastic surgeon finally won the battle. To my surprise he then said ‘and here’s your cataract.’
That stopped me in my tracks. I’ve given birth to two children and I recall hearing ‘and here’s your baby’ following each occasion, but I never expected‘here’s your cataract’, And there it was, a tiny ball of rust on a nurse’s outstretched palm..
I’ve since asked several friends who have had cataracts removed if that had ever happened to them but so far they all said no. My first thought was that I should say something along the lines of, ‘It’s beautiful, I’m going to call it Geraldine,’ followed closely by wondering if I was expected to take it home and keep it on the mantelpiece. Fortunately, they didn’t.
So there I was, with one working eye, ready to get back to writing – but fate wasn’t finished with me. Eight weeks later I was back in hospital to have an operation on my non-cataract eye to deal with a detached retina. Once home I had to lie flat on my back for 8 days and 8 nights – not easy when you live alone. Fortunately two very kind neighbours. fed me.
I have never really got over the appalling time I had and every time I have a hospital appointment I pack a bag to keep me going for at least 3 days just in case.
I have now started work on another Prior’s Ford book because that’s what I do and what I want to keep on doing. I wish I had learned to touch type years ago just in case, but I didn’t and I’ll just have to do my best and hope that I can keep the sight that’s left to me.