Last year around this time, after enjoying a coffee with raspberry-custard tart with my friend Ceri, she asked why I was not continuing with my book. “What are you doing instead?” she wondered. The cardinal question.
I wash the dishes. I walk the dog. I weed the veggie patch. I cut away branches along the forest path that annoy me. I bake scones. I bake bread. I cook a lot (hence washing the dishes is oh so essential). I watch youtube. I hyperfocus on youtube. I brush the dog. I brush the cats.
I did not tell her ALL those things, even though they all kept me away from completing my book, which I desperately wanted to. Instead, I was stuck in a rut. Never, ever will I forget (even more so, after what happened to Ceri) what the author Lee Johnson said about a rut in How to escape your comfort zones.
~ The only difference between a rut and a grave
is the depth of the excavation. ~
Ceri, a lovely, understanding woman and soon-to-be-published author of a children’s book exclaimed sympathetically “Oooooh we all do it! All artists do it. It’s called skiving!”
Skiving. A beautiful British word.
She told me what she did to postpone the publication of her book, which out of respect to her I will not repeat here. She empathised with me, and therefore, sternly, but laughingly, said “Just get on with it!”
“That’s easier said than done,” I protested.
She got up, took a piece of paper and wrote ‘Just get on with it!!’ in big letters. The next day, I outlined her words with a fat marker and stuck it up high above a door where I passed frequently. That day I looked at her words a few times and thought ‘yeah yeah.’ The day after, I spent hours on the net researching how I could break through my brain fog, just one of many perimenopausal afflictions. I ordered fish oil capsules, multi-vitamins, and Bach Flower remedies for subliminal support.
Kid you not, by mid September I was full steam ahead into my book and kept it up until January 2nd by which time two dedicated proofreaders had also shared comments which I had worked into the book. Why did I stop? Something dawned on me that day. Something that shook me emotionally so badly that I forgot even how to type. 😉
Back to Ceri. I had seen an impressive proof copy of her book on a beautiful day on the beach of Trégastel in April. It was stunning. Her illustrations reminded me of Dr Seuss books (which pleased her immensely). At last when I saw her at the end of August she had just ordered the printers to print the book and a book launch in two countries was planned for early October, to which I was invited.
Instead, early October an entirely different event took place, to which I was also invited. Ceri’s cremation. After years of struggling with her health, Ceri finally gave up. The doctors had told her that they could keep her alive, but not cure her. There were complications. Although the day that I saw her she looked well and sun bronzed after a beach holiday, she was gravely ill, but hid it.
That’s why today this message to all of you from Ceri, who knew so well that we all procrastinate:
By no means do I intend to be disrespectful to Ceri and her family, but it is important that I show the readers that this is not a concocted story. I do not want to put the full link here or show her surname. It’s in French, because I lived in France then and so did she. Miss you, friend.