Just recently I received a fan email about Girdle of Bones. Yes, I know! Me – fan mail!? Wowser! It was a delightful surprise, particularly since it’s over two years since I (self)published the epic tome. But reading the email reminded me of just why I wrote the book in the first place.

Hey Nicky, I hadn’t realised you wrote a book. I think that would be my opening line when introducing myself to all people, in all settings, at all times.

What a journey! I won’t fanboy too much, but I really did enjoy it. Your resilience is, of course, the highlight of Girdle of Bones, and as I read I could feel it providing some much-needed perspective for myself… Medically, your advice about autologous blood deposits is such an important piece of knowledge I will take with me going forward. Questioning your doctors/performing your own research, something I am guilty of not doing, is something that will now remain front of mind when I have extended dealings with them. … I’ve already recommended your book to an aunt of my wife’s as she is possibly going down the path of a hip replacement. I know it will be of great use if she takes up the offer.

Anywayyss.. I did just wanted to pop in to say I really enjoyed it and hope you are spending your increased spare time working on more pieces so I can read on in the future. T.C.

Rather lovely, really. Thank you, TC. You made my day 🙂

So there I was, later the same day, feeling all shiny and pleased, when I bumped into someone from the local writing group. Much like most acquaintances when they bump into each other unexpectedly, we did the usual slightly awkward hello-how-are-you things for a couple of moments. Then, just as I was turning away, feeling reprieved, she popped in ‘‘So… you’re not writing anymore, are you?’

Ouch. Not an unreasonable comment, I guess, considering I have been AWOL from writing group for quite a while, but still… It felt like I’d been slapped by a wet fish… and my shiny writerly bubble was thoroughly burst.

All it took was seven words, delivered in a perfectly pleasant tone of voice, to supply a surprisingly effective dose of negative mental realignment. Perhaps I was feeling a little defensive about being absent from the group and not making contact with them?

No matter. Taking a deep breath, I let one of my mantras play inside my head – the equivalent of counting to 10: You’ve donned your big girl panties perfectly well when faced with far more confronting situations than this one, girl…

That allowed me to step back from what was, no doubt, just a passing comment. Then I just smiled. I smiled and told Patsy that I write when I can. She smiled too, said she hoped to see me back at the group sometime soon, and we parted ways.

But it made me think. In fact I thought about Patsy’s question far more than it actually warranted before eventually realising that it was irrelevant. I do write – I write when, where and what I feel in the mood for. Sometimes it’s just a brief note about something that catches my attention; at other times it’s as though my pencil is an extension of my hand.

But no matter which end of that writing scale I’m on at any given time, writing is part of who I am – whether others see me do it or not. (If I was five years old, I’d add: so there!) 🙂

It’s not what (or when or why) you do it, it’s whether you have fun on the journey.
Thanks for the reminder, TC.

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