Reflections on Lockdown October 2020
Everything in my diary cancelled, in theory all day, every day apart from domestic chores from 16th March under lockdown I was free to do as I pleased within my own front door. I should have been glorying in uninterrupted writing time but for the first few weeks every time I retreated to The Shed and sat down in front of my computer my mind became as dry and unproductive as a desert. I’ve heard too many stories of problems concerning mental health and depression while we were all locked in. I have been one of the lucky ones, a hundred yards from our front door is a small store where the first hour of every day is reserved for vulnerable people so every day I can be sure of smiling faces and a taste of local news. People need people.
I came to creative writing through the Open University but it wasn’t until 2013 that my first novel aimed at the teenage reader was published by Monkey Business, an imprint of Grey House in the Woods thanks to Graeme K. Talboys.
I have been impressed and encouraged by the generosity of established writers, such as Randy Ingermanson, Anne R. Allen, Joanna Penn, Icy Sedgewick and Gary Rodgers, whose newsletters and blogs light the way ahead for me in this new uncharted creative world. When I began I was already 77 but was encouraged by the knowledge that Mary Wesley didn’t write her first adult novel till she was 71.
Now in my middle eighties and facing another birthday this month I am far from ready to retire. I have just completed three novels, two published and one should be out before the end of the year. Although their plots and characters are unrelated they have become a trilogy because greyhounds have walked into each one to take up important roles just as greyhounds have walked into my own life for the past fifty years. All my novels are written to challenge the expectations imposed by society on older people. My purpose is to prove that life can and should be an adventure regardless of age.
Hanging on my bedroom wall is a finaly stitched sampler titled Modesty dated 1783 by a girl called Charlotte Thirtle – the last verse has been one of the two driving forces in my life –
Quickly lay hold of time while in your power
Be careful well to husband every hour.
Despair of nothing which you would attain:
Unwearied diligence your point will gain.