In which I cry in front of Judy Blume

Sometimes I can’t think of anything to write for this. Normally I come up with something, eventually. Other times too much has happened and I can’t seem to pick any one thing to focus on. Normally, I get past that as well. But for the past week I’ve been fuzzy-headed and somewhat easily overwhelmed by things, so when faced with an overwhelming choice of things to write about, I shut down and didn’t write anything at all.

Did you miss me?
Even though I couldn’t bring myself to blog – I got some of the more fun, creative stuff done – it’s been niggling at me that I skipped a week.  So here’s a quick rundown of what’s been going on:

1 – I spent the first missed weekend – or the Saturday thereof – watching triathlon in Hyde Park. The elites doing a sprint distance. We stood next to a lovely Spanish family, kids in Spanish t-shirts waving British flags and shouting the names as instructed by their parents. Weird to watch an elite sprint, actually. The men’s race was exciting and close – a bunch of five vying for the lead in the last 200 metres. The women’s was exciting for different reasons – mostly because the lead Jorgensen gained over a 5k run was utterly remarkable.

Also took an early morning walk with the dogs, taking wolfy gothis pictures
Also took an early morning walk with the dogs, taking wolfy gothis pictures

2 – My work moved offices last weekend. We moved from West London to Central London and suddenly I can’t do the commute in my sleep anymore, or even walk through the building without thinking about it. It’s all very buzzy and strange and different, both building and area. Nice strange, but weird, nonetheless. During the first week I got that type of exhaustion that I only had when I first started working in London. Extra exhausted from figuring out lots of unfamiliar things. Er, possibly also because last week was the first full week I’ve done in about a month.

3 – I didn’t figure out my commute home until midweek. On Monday I met up with an old friend and also a blogger for a catch-up. We normally only see each other as part of a group of people, so actual one-on-one conversation was new. But good new, lots to discuss, as I twigged four hours later when it was time to go home. The conversation brought up a lot of old memories, the childhood sort – it’s always interesting to get a glimpse of your family and childhood through someone else’s eyes. It’s never what you remember. Anyway, said blogger is a very good writer and worth checking out –

4- One Tuesday I cried at Judy Blume. Judy Blume in person, I mean. She did a rare Q&A at Waterstones Piccadilly. I was there by myself as the friend who had been coming had to drop out. I gave her ticket away via twitter, turned up earlyish and plonked myself at the end of the front row. Judy Blume in person is a revelation. She is very energetic, very open, warm and forthright. The thing I didn’t expect was to be able to see her in her characters. But she’s in there, in all of them. Sally, Deenie, Margaret, Sheila – all up there, on the stage, in one person. I had wanted to do a full write up of this, but whatever. It was overwhelming and abruptly emotional. Fact: I’ve never been starstruck. I don’t tend to recognise famous people and I don’t generally care much when I do. But when it’s the author of books that you read and reread and shared and fought over with your sisters and you memorised lines and knew all the stories and … well, apparently that’s what it takes to shake me up. I lined up with everyone else to get things signed and got to the table, and couldn’t really speak. That the person sat in front of me had written the books that propped me up during my child and teen years was entirely too much.  I said, “I’m sorry, I’m a bit star struck.” And Judy Blume smiles and says, “Oh that’s very kind, thank you,” and she smiled at me. And I welled up. I started crying and couldn’t stop. I apologised for it. She took my hand (Judy Blume took my hand) and said, “Thank you,” and then she said, “You know what it is, don’t you? It’s your childhood coming back.” And that pretty much broke me. In a good way. I wish my sisters could have been there. People say never meet your heroes, but I’m really, really glad I met mine.

5- And from there the week went into and exhausted slump. I missed the gig we were supposed to be going to on Wednesday. On Thursday I spent an hour working on what became my entry for the Manx Poetry Trail comp, sat in my new favourite café on Fleet Street, before I went to the doctor about my still-pounding head. At the weekend I ate a load of chocolate. I did a fair amount of writing. I sent in my MPT entry, and two entries for the Mslexia comp that I have no hope of being placed in, and two poems to Rattle Mag.  I sat in the sunny yard and played guitar with a dog asleep on my feet. Other dog caught a mouse. Our nice upstairs neighbours moved out.

6 – And then today I heard back from Bare Fiction Magazine, who told me that the story I’d known was short-listed is to be printed in Issue 3. And that made for a nice end to the afternoon. (Understatement: I did happy jazz hands again. I’ve reached my goal of getting one story and one poem published this year, and I got the acceptances technically before half the year has gone! Yay!)

Dear readers, this list of What I Did In My Last Two Weeks ends with me lying on the sofa waiting for dinner. I’m sorry it wasn’t more in-depth or explanatory of one of those subjects. Apparently if I examine anything too closely at the moment, I get a bit too bad-head-space-y, so I’m going back to the made-up stuff now.


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