More than a year has passed since my last post. I can't quite believe it. It feels like I have been time travelling. A lot has happened in the last twelve months. Our family swapped Cornwall's seagulls for Australian cockatoos and kookaburras as we spent several months living and working in Canberra. Before that, I was on a six-month course exploring a business idea around workshops in writing for health. I'd also been volunteering with dementia patients and breast cancer survivors and trying to understand the arts and health connection. For the last few months, I've been working as a ghostwriter, helping others write their memoirs. I've been worrying about everybody else's story, and I haven't had time to carry on with my own. I've moved a long, long way from my Mermaids book, my memoir and history of breast cancer surgery. I've allowed time on my own book to perish as I turned to other things.
In the process of facing up to this reality, I received a present from a writer and painter friend in Ireland. This was in return for connecting her with the Haven, a marvellous charity for women coping with breast cancer. It's a mark of how special the Haven is that Susan wanted to say thanks. She has come back from her own experience with vim and vigour. She sent me a small painting of the shee, which she explained like this: "It is about the survival of the power of femaleness. The shee (fairies) are a throwback to when women were equals of gods and had the power to bless the land and endow it with fruitfulness. Newer philosophies tried to suppress this exuberance - unsuccessfully - and like the shee in the picture we have a great tendency to bounce back, even if it takes a couple of thousand years." I've put this picture in front of me as I type. I've decided that's me in the middle, surrounded by mischievous fairies, doing everything they can to stop me from writing (they just made my computer crash as I wrote the last sentence; honest, they did). But even if it takes me a couple of thousand years, and quest-like tests of endurance, I'm going to finish my book. It's time to bounce back.