Here is a place I haven't been before.
Actually Prague is also a place I haven't been before but this isn't about Prague. Or anywhere else. This is about a place called Here. Or Now. Or Here-and-Now. They're probably twinned or something.
I never really took my writing 'seriously' until just after my Mum died. My marriage died at the same time and I wasn't sure how to grieve or which to grieve for first. I got very confused, a little lost and what with finding myself a single mother all of a sudden and having to try and prop up self, daughter and father, I turned to the only thing I ever found comfort in and that was writing. Getting it all out of my spaghetti-brain and onto a piece of paper/screen was the only thing that made any real sense.
Then I joined WriteWords. I was thrilled to find other people who loved to write and loved to talk about writing and I was delighted when they started telling me how much they enjoyed reading stuff I'd written. I can still remember the real sick-fear of clicking the 'upload' icon when I posted the first chapter of the book I was writing. And the very bad sleep I got that night and the trepidation I felt before logging back in to see if anyone had said anything. Followed by pure elation when I read the comments - a feeling I shall never forget.
It was how I would imagine it feels on those Makeover programmes when you've spent most of your life feeling a bit left out and a bit lonely and suddenly you're coming down those steps and there's a whole load of clapping, cheering people greeting you and telling you how lovely you are. That's how it felt. And I wanted them to be my friends forever.
I still do.
And if it hadn't been for this amazing writing group that I found myself a part of, then I'd never have dreamed of even thinking anything I wrote was worthy of anything like proper publication - in a book with a cover and everything. But this seemed to be the way to go. After all, I'd had a couple of shorts published and a poem or two... heck I even won a load of Mills & Boons and a pink telephone in a BT/M&B scriptwriting competition, so I must have had 'something' going for me.
So publication it was, then. Not exactly Publication or Die. But pretty near, it's sometimes felt.
And Now. Here I am. Waiting. Oh, so patiently. Four books later and nearly a decade later, I've been having some very encouraging correspondence from one particular Agent concerning the Teenage book I've written. And even though it's been on a super-massive rewrite journey, had three different endings and enough 'darlings' killed off that it could start it's own Am-Dram society, I still love working on it. Last week she mailed me to say she'd "love to read anything I've written" - which has given me a renewed writing energy I always knew was lurking about somewhere. I just needed the encouragement to let it shine. So now she has the final version. And some chapters of another YA book I'm halfway through. And ideas for three other books that are being all patient at the back of my head and waiting for their 'time' to come.
I'm very good at sitting tight and waiting. Especially if what's coming is worth the wait. And even if it isn't what I hoped for, I know that right now I'm Somewhere I've never been before. I got this far.