Five years ago I started writing my novel inspired by the sole intention to show my son that anything is possible, that dreams can come true, and that whatever is in the mind can become a reality.
Since starting my novel, I have embarked on a few writing courses including Faber Academy’s Novel Writing course and I have written many drafts. But a couple of years ago the writing slowed down. This could be related to my son starting school which meant shorter days compared to the 8am-6pm nursery hours, it could also have been because my business has grown beyond my wildest dreams or it could have been losing a friend unexpectedly, which completely floored me. And because ghosts and friendship are at the heart of my story, I found it too painful to continue writing.
Flash forward to a couple of years later and I’m losing someone else again, this time it’s happening very slowly. The loss is occurring initially with my mother’s memory and I fear the worst for what’s to come, especially when I face the facts on a daily basis with one of my clients being a dementia charity.
The most difficult part of it is that my mother lives on the other side of the world and as much as I am desperate to jump on a plane this very minute, I’m unable to visit her until next summer when my son has enough time off school for us to make a proper trip to the island where she lives in the Philippines.
One of the last face to face conversations I remember having with my mother was about the story I was writing. I promised her that she would be able to read something some day soon and as always when I mentioned my writing her eyes twinkled with excitement. She was the one who installed my passion to write and she was the one who fed my thirst for stories; I think it had a lot to do with her amusing ability to blur the boundaries of fantasy and reality. And I guess it has a lot to do with the Filipino’s culture and their superstitious beliefs involving ghosts and black magic.
And so thinking about the next time I will see my mother and the fear I will feel when I sit next to her, knowing that she won’t remember our last phone conversation, I’ve decided to set myself a deadline. In June 2020, regardless of the state of my novel, I have decided to self-publish a few hard copies so I can take them to the Philippines with me. I just really want to see the woman who spent endless hours at the typewriter when I was a child, typing countless letters to her friends and family in the Philippines, with my book in her hand. I hope it will help her to reconnect with herself and with me. I hope I’ll be able to see that twinkle in her eyes again.
So that’s my challenge, to finish this story as much as I can. And I will use Nanowrimo, a couple of writing courses I have booked myself onto next year and the London Literature Festival at the South Bank to push me forward. I started writing this book for my son and now I want to finish it for my mother.
Here goes ….