On Friday, I shared this tweet.
What my tweet didn’t say was the reason that I actually DID get off my bum and start the new book was a message I received about a young gardener who did some work for us when we first moved into our new house. I asked for recommendations, and his was the name that popped up. I messaged, he messaged back, he did some work for us. Let’s call him Adam.
Adam was lovely. Not afraid of hard work, he put his back into helping with our clogged up pond, brought in a mate, went to buy stuff we needed – the full package. He was starting a new business, he told us, and was very excited. The next time we saw him, he had a van with his new company name and logo on the side.
He finished the work and we approached him on Facebook a second time to ask if he’d like to quote for it. We heard nothing. I messaged him, left a message on his mobile, texted. Nothing. A bit puzzled we asked someone else to do the work.
Then on Thursday night, I had a message on Facebook. The gist of it is below:
Hi – this is Joanne, Adam’s mum. Adam was killed in a car crash in April. We’ve decided to carry on his business, so if you still want someone to take a look, let us know.
I was stunned and so appalled. All his plans, his dreams - gone in an instant. He was 24.
Given that nobody ever goes to the grave wishing they’d stayed longer at the office, this dreadful news galvanised me in a way nothing else could. I’ve written two books, but published neither. I’m not sure what I’m waiting for – divine inspiration? The first needs blurb, formatting and a cover. The second (not in the same series) needs the same. And the third book that I took a running jump at on Friday is the follow up to the first. This summer, I’m determined to sort it, and get the first book ready to go, and write at least half of the second book in the series.
With luck and a following wind, I’ll be here, safe and sound, with my loving partner and my wonderful new home. But, really – you never know. There’s a line from TS Eliot which I remember from my student days:
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
To me now, this seems even more powerful, more poignant. So I will write. I will publish.
And I urge you to do soon whatever makes you happy. And raise a glass to Adam for the reminder.