On this very desk in Chania, Crete, I finished the last scene of my shitty first draft of my first novel on 27th September, three days before my deadline.

Last year I found out about The Writer’s Studio online First Draft Novel course which insisted that I start all over again (I had a part-finished another draft one and mooshed together a second incomplete draft one – so two draft ones if that makes sense. No, not really!). So I started all over again and eleven months later, I made it!! That’s 93,947 words. Just under 24,000 this writing holiday which started 9/9.

Now, to get cracking with the Writer’s Studio Draft Two course. I believe there will be lots more rewriting. So Sisyphus-like, I’ve started rolling that boulder up to the top of the hill!

But first, I celebrated with beer, olives, feta and anchovies. A sweet snack! Chania will always have a place in my heart.

They say that after arguments about sex, money is the number two thing that people argue about. Money is a strange, strange beast. Over the years I have read and thought and reflected on money to try to get upsides with it.

My pattern is to spend what I have, live from pay to pay. When I discovered Desire Mapping, which is the work of Danielle La Porte, I was quick to include Abundance as one of my Core Desired Feelings, to see if I could challenge that old, old pattern. I was, still am, a devoted Desire Mapper. I even run Desire Map workshops from time to time; see here for more information.

It all seemed to go so well for the first two years. All that Desire Mapping seemed to pay off as I finally landed a job that paid well, for the first time in my entire life! Then, I must have gotten complacent. Fast forward two years, to January 2017 when I decided, when reviewing my Core Desired Feelings, that I had conquered Abundance and could remove it from my list of Core Desired Feelings (CDFs for short). I launched into 2017 with these four CDFs: Congruent (doing what I say I’ll do), Creative, Free and Joyous.

And then, last month, there was that ghastly moment when darling husband asked if I would please refrain from buying my lunches on the joint account when I’ve worked my way through my entire salary. Ahem. It doesn’t help that he has actually been surviving on savings for nearly 18 months because he has had impeccable financial management techniques in place for the last 20 years. His polite and embarrassing request was just the wake up call I needed. It was time to jam on the brakes of overspending, and turn my financial ship around, so to speak.

I have started making my lunches again. I have pored through the many financial commitments I have unthinkingly signed up to and removed every single one that I can. Instead of just collecting data on my finances using that neat little Pocketbook app, I am actually looking at that data and constantly checking it against my financial goals.

And, I put Abundance back into my Core Desired Feelings, for good measure! I have made a little movie (after significant swearing and at least four hours more than I thought it would take) of my Core Desired Feelings and 2017 monthly goals and other Desire Map themed images here. Enjoy!

Winter Desire Map Workshop

Eventbrite - Winter Desire Map 2017

Is there anything more horrific than a farewell? Yet this is a moment of such parental pride and excitement. My daughter planned a Gap Year, worked hard to earn money to travel to Europe and has done it! She has donned the back pack and headed off for a glorious European holiday. Here we are in the final moment of farewell.

That last day I decided to work from home, to make sure everything was on track. Keep food and encouragement coming as the last tasks were slowly tackled among a gaggle of friends. Then the evening, meeting the new boyfriend’s parents for the first time (lovely people) at a surreal mini-gig. The day slowly but inexorably disappearing into the departure time of 1am. What we want for ourselves is for our loved ones to take no risks. What we want for our loved ones is to do what they dream of, risks and all. And so it goes, the endless parental teetering between vicarious excitement and selfish anxiety.

At the short gig, my daughter sits on one of the bean bags favoured by the young attendees while we more mature patrons sit on the chairs. All of a sudden my mature and capable adult child takes on the look of a 12 year old. The music coaxes the first tears I have been doing my best to control all day. How can I have let this come to pass? Allowing her to travel On Her Own? How did I forget to be a Helicopter Parent?

It’s not my choice, of course. She’s 18 and the endless letting go of parenting is giving me another suffocating squeeze. Similar to last year’s end of school which I wrote about in this blog – but much, much stronger.

The gig finishes, and then there is dinner with both our families. The clock ticks on. The streets of Fremantle will welcome her back in four months, her feet will walk these streets again, the bookshops will entice her in for another look. I know this in my bones.

Back home and another hour passes before we need to leave for the airport, my usual tame bedtime of 8.30 has long gone. My husband wisely decides to stay at home, says his farewells to his step-daughter on the front porch. Myself daughter and boyfriend in the car, as the trip moves far too quickly to the airport. Smoke hangs in the air, with a smell of burning. Like a London fog, it is hard to see, and the smell worsens as we reach the airport. Burning off? Something more sinister?

At the airport we made our way through the smoky air. Burning off. Then last minute tutorials in how to read departure boards. She’s a very well-travelled person, but always with me, or with a school trip. Is it enough?

Upstairs to the last piece of ground we can walk together, and the moment can be put off no longer. An eerie blue light emanates from the Departure sign and the quiet horror of the moment unspools. Dead Mum Walking, there is nothing to do but keep walking those last steps together. Myself and boyfriend as an afterthought pose for photos and I think “I knew her before she was born.”

After putting him in a taxi home there is no restraint to the maternal howling. All the way home. It will never be this bad again, I know. We will both travel, we will have other good byes, but none as bad as this.

Around the corner of memory I see my own departure, 27 years ago on the road to Europe as a 25 year old. I left Perth by train, to meander across the nation on the Indian Pacific at forty kilometres per hour, then catch an Aeroflot flight to London after spending time in Sydney with my brother. My mother and I have to say good bye at the charmless East Perth train station. The train begins to pull away, and she starts to run, still waving and we wave until we can no longer see each other.

We inflict these farewells on each other, and that is the gateway to adventure and travel and independence.

Yesterday my daughter and I had a Viber phone call while she ate a sandwich in Regents Park. The ravens were cawing and edging in for a bite. The weeping willow draped elegantly into the water and the bilious green of the English Summer lawn was close enough to touch. I have been parenting by Facebook Messenger for at least the last six months so in some ways it is business as usual. The connectivity we enjoy now is a parent’s dream, only now she is half the world away, not out the back in the studio flat.

After getting back from the airport, I creep back into bed, still weeping. I wake some hours later, and darling husband asks me how I am. I can’t answer and he just hugs me. I get up and concoct a makeshift cold pack out of frozen blueberries into a freezer back and place them on my eyes. I have a full day ahead of me, and my life is returning into focus.

It’s that time again – author interview time! I will be honest, my day job was extremely busy at the end of April and I have only just gotten the audio of this engaging and supportive interview with the lovely Samantha Bennett up.  Since Good Friday when this was recorded until today, there has been a lot of stuff happening. A lot. A boulder’s worth of things (see below).

But enough of that. On with the show! For those of you who don’t know Samantha, she is an author of two books, Get It Done: From Procrastination To Creative Genius in 15 Minutes a Day, and her latest. The title needs a new sentence of its own. Start Right Where You Are: How Little Changes Can Make A Big Difference. For Overwhelmed Procrastinators, Frustrated Overachievers, and Recovering Perfectionists.

It’s going to be my longest hyperlink all year! So let me start with a breath. Inhale for four, hold for seven, exhale for eight. That’s how our interview starts, and that is just one of the many super-practical, easily implementable tips that Samantha shares in the interview. You can hop on over and listen right now, or keep on reading to find out a little more before you commit!

Samantha has spent many years helping creatives to get unstuck, through her Organized Artist company, and with great intrepidity has put together a career’s worth of sensible and supportive advice into a book. And the right Little Changes Action Step that end each chapter. Things you can try for yourself to make changes in the area of your life where things aren’t working so well for you.

When I was reading the book in preparation for the interview, I started turning down the corners of the important pages. (I know. I am an absolute vandal. Do not loan me your favourite book.) After a short time I realised I had turned down the corner of every chapter, and with only around a 15 minute allotted interview time that was never going to work. But it highlighted to me that this is the kind of book that you read through once, then you keep handy, like a favourite pack of Angel cards or similar. You pick it up and wherever it falls open, that’s the right page with the right wisdom for you.

What I like about this book is that it is funny. For people like myself with a seemingly inexhaustible appetite for self-development, it is refreshing to stumble across paragraphs such as ‘”What does my inner wisdom want me to know right now?” You could end up with with a clear desire for a grilled cheese sandwich – or perhaps an idea for a whole new direction in life.’

What I also like is that some of the meditations and concepts are on the website for you to enjoy as an audio or short video.

Of this vast panoply of good ideas, I am going to choose the ones that fell open for me. Happy Naked Grown Up Time, Time Boulders and the You in the Centre of You. In no particular order, except that Happy Naked Grown Up Time got your attention I’m thinking?

Time Boulders are things like a massive day job, new baby, sudden illness of self or other – the sorts of intrusions on time that are definitely and legitimately going to impact on how much time there is for creative pursuits. But – these time boulders won’t last forever. And this is the reassurance I cling to with my current creative schedule in a life (positively) impacted by my massive, amazing, challenging, enthralling day job. One day this too will pass, and I will have a different, post-job life. More noodling time, more white space and bigger margins of my life to devote to writing. (Hang it, I might even have a whole page!) But still. I’ve got 15 minutes a day. We’ve all got 15 minutes a day. Or in my case, oodles of time on the weekend. My novel can still progress, slowly. What can you do in 15 minutes a day to forward your creative dreams?

Another key theme in the book is The You in the Centre of You. It’s a core concept for life really.

“When you are centered in yourself, you are the still center around which the wheel of your life spins.”

Sam also uses the term “The Net” to express the fundamental inter-connectedness of all things (as Douglas Adams would say). “You are an inextricable and essential part of an Infinite Net of energy. You are one intersecting element in the larger picture of the whole universe. You are both much less significant and much more powerful than you may have been led to believe.”

And Happy Naked Grown Up Time? Get a copy and read it yourself!

Listen here for my interview with Sam.

Samantha Bennett is also the co-host of the Beautiful Writer’s Group, with Linda Sivertsen. I have been Beautiful Writer for 2.5 years.

Of late I’ve been thinking of London. One of my colleagues has just visited Europe, posting photos galore and making me homesick for Europe, where I lived for nine years. Six years in London, three years in Greece. I’ve been back in Perth now for 17 years, and looking back to me in this picture it feels like another life. But there is then and there is now and I am the bridge. The echoes of my life at 27 there are still calling through the years to myself now at nearly 52. I want to call back to my younger self, and let her know a few things.

English men are not going to “get” you

Here’s me in the picture at 27, on a weekend in London. My main companion that weekend was the television and the video hire shop. See, it’s too early even for DVDs. I remember telling a colleague I’d watched four movies over the weekend. They were all quite good movies actually as I recall although what they were is lost now to the mists of time. He looked at me pityingly and told me to get a life. He was right, goddammit. But there I was, lost in self-pity. I wanted to be in a relationship so much that I pushed away most potential lovers.

For goodness sake, discover charity shops

Living in London was a constant exercise is dodging poverty, and I actually had a nice government job. Admittedly, not a particularly well-paying government job, but steady, nonetheless. The salary came (monthly!) and was eked out until the next pay day. It always seemed to be pasta or lentils day. So why on earth did I only once comb charity shops and purchase just one item – a linen trouser suit which I proceeded to wear for the next six years? My wardrobe grew drabber by the year. I could have looked a million bucks if I had just taken to charity shopping. 27 year old self, maybe English men would have gotten you if you hadn’t looked so aggressively dowdy! You’re going to look hotter and more stylish in your mid-thirties onwards, by the way. This is weekend with the videos and dowdy duds is a choice. You can make a different one.

It will all actually be OK.

On account of English men not “getting” me, four years after this picture was taken I moved to Greece at age 31 still unmarried. In the UK people wouldn’t mention that kind of social drawback-in Greece it was part of the opening conversation. “Where is your husband?” Perhaps it was the accelerated peer pressure, but by 33 I fell pregnant in a new, very new (OK, three week) relationship and it was game over. I was going to have that child, not matter how inconvenient or socially unacceptable. It was 1998, and 2000 was a full two years away. But by golly, the Millennium Plan was being brought forward. I went ahead and had my daughter. Best. Mistake. Ever. And later still, when she was 10, I married a gorgeous man who is still my husband. I wore a charity shop dress which between you and me, I rocked. Here’s me and my dad, he can’t quite believe he’d finally lived to see me get married.

Rashida Murphy with her first novel, The Historian’s Daughter

I have recently signed up to to Marie Forleo’s B-School, and was inspired to refresh my Fabulous Women Podcast. This latest interview features Perth Author Rashida Murphy, who has recently published her first novel, The Historian’s Daughter.

The book’s blurb reads “In an old house with ‘too many windows and women’, high in the Indian hills, young Hannah lives with her older sister Gloria; her two older brothers; her mother, ‘the Magician;’ a colourful assortment of aunts, blow-ins, and misfits; and her father, ‘the Historian.’ It is a world of secrets, jealousies, and lies, ruled by the Historian but smoothed over by the Magician, whose kindnesses and wisdom bring homely comfort and all-enveloping love to a ramshackle building that seems destined for chaos.

And then one day the Magician is gone, Gloria is gone, and the Historian has spirited Hannah and her brothers away to a new, and at first bewildering, life in Perth. As Hannah grows and makes her own way through Australian life, an education, and friendships, she begins to penetrate to the heart of one of the old house’s greatest secrets-and to the meaning of her own existence.”

The Magician and the Historian – why those names?

The magic and beauty of having a podcast is that you can ask authors about what they meant. The Historian is the father figure, and the Magician is the mother figure. I was still intrigued about this one month after reading it, and Rashida shared her insight as to the detachment of both parents, although so different.

What about the sisters, Hannah and Gloria?

The warm relationship between the sisters Hannah and Gloria is cut short when Hannah moves to Australia, and the impact of living apart tells on their relationship. Rashida confirmed this is an enduring theme in her writing, and that no matter how long you live in a country and develop new relationships, you can never replace the sibling relationships where you have lived each others’ history.

Are “extra branches” on a family tree a key theme?

The opening line is “The hills towered, range upon range, behind the house with too many windows and women” Rashida shares the insight that as she grew up there were silent women who were visible but whose stories were never told. This novel provides one story at least for one of the silent women inspired by her childhood in India.

I wonder if you could share something about the experience of writing this novel?

Rashida talked about the germ of an idea of this novel – actually the Iranian Revolution – which would not let her alone. It transformed into The Historian’s Daughter over several years and drafts.

I loved the insight she shared about writing about places – she needs a place to become strange to write about it, and all the Perth scenes of the novel were written in Shimla. I love that!

And are you able to talk about what’s next?
Another germ of an idea is currently taking shape. Despite swearing off novel-writing, this draft is already up to 25,000 words… We talked about how you have to be crazy to write a novel, but at some point it starts making sense and then you can’t leave it alone!

Meet Rashida
Perth people can meet Rashida in person as she will be at Duncraig Public Library on 5th April at 6pm. Copies of Rashida’s book will be available for purchase and signing on the night. Check UWA Publishing’s Facebook page or call the City of Joondalup on 9400 4751.

I hope you enjoy this Podcast. Please feel free to like and share!

6weeksDo you know how it is sometimes, where you keep on getting the same message? Like the red car syndrome, where once you purchase a red car, suddenly you see them everywhere? The red car message for me has been all about time. Things worth doing, take time. Time. Lots of it.

The same message kept appearing in so many unrelated podcasts, blogs and conversations this week that I had to admit, this was the red car message for me.

Nothing worth doing can get done in six weeks.

There was a time, three years ago in fact, when I thought I could get a business going in six weeks; “Six Figures in Six Weeks” was one of the many online courses I had signed up for. Well I had my doubts, but I thought the smart thing to do was to learn from other entrepreneurs, reduce the amount of time it took to learn how to grow your business. I wanted the quick and easy, paint by numbers, tried and true way to gather a list of people’s emails, adoring Facebook and Twitter etc. followers, and then magically become a hugely successful online entrepreneur. I believed that all I had to do was to understand how other entrepreneurs had done it, heck even use the same scripts as they did, and somehow, magically I would be able to walk away from paid work and still be able to meet all my expenses, within, say, six weeks.

I was already lost, because the business coach idea was just a diversion from the sheer terror of publishing my first book. I could have gotten behind my book and done that interview series on trauma to triumph, but instead I wimped out, opting for an Abundance summit. And perhaps being so lost encouraged some magical thinking. I would commonly be found up at 3am on the Q&A call with another American coach calling their Pied Piper tune about how to build a business instantly.

Here’s the deal

There are no quick and easy steps to build a business. There is no quick and easy way to find your voice and market yourself an entrepreneur, a writer, a creative. “Six kilos in six weeks” sounds almost identical to “six figures in six weeks”, and both are a lie. Six week weight loss programs have not stood the test of research, as study after study indicates all those kilos will find their way back onto your body after the diet, most likely joined by a few extra ones.

Almost nobody who starts a business will be earning anything like six figures in six weeks, unless they have been at the game for more than 15 years, building a profile through face to face interaction and plain hard graft. It is the usual story of the 15 year overnight sensation.

Tim Grahl said it well –

Social media is not a place to “grow your fame.” It’s a reflection of the fame you’ve created elsewhere.

Sure, you need to have a website, social media presence etc. so people can find you, but then you need to get out into the world and work hard in building up your “offline” fame.

Another of my red car moments was listening to Marianne Williamson talk about grief on Marie Forleo’s weekly program. Marianne said that the point of grief is not to anaesthetise ourselves to it through use of pharmaceuticals or other numbing substances, buying more “things”, and ignoring the feelings. The point is to feel the feelings and take them as our teacher.

To continue the analogy with being an entrepreneur, or a creative, the whole point is to find out for yourself what success is going to look like. No-one else’s scripts or formulae are going to get you there.

And, it’s going to take time.

By Loudon dodd – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7404342

Apparently January is named after the Roman god Janus, the god of the doors, because January is the door to the new year. Here it is, almost at an end, and 2017 is picking up where 2016 left off, isn’t it?

Something about January (I dunno, an Inauguration for example) has made me gravitate towards the work of Anita Moorjani. If you have never heard of her work, Anita had a Near Death Experience (NDE). After suffering from cancer for many years, she became so unwell that she died. And came back. Hers is slightly unusual in that usually it is a sudden trauma that precedes an NDE, not a chronic illness. Her process of getting better is also very interesting to read about in her book, Dying to Be Me. But it was what she learned about the nature of reality, the meaning of life that interested me more.

I needed the words of comfort, that everything really is all right. That the polarities of this world simply are not relevant once our bodies are no longer in the frame. That there is nothing you actually have to do on this earth in order to be worthy of being loved. Simply by existing, we are worthy. Anita discusses the importance of allowing our life to unfold:

You know how I often talk about “allowing” our lives to unfold on their own, rather than “chasing and pursuing”?  Chasing and pursuing is what most of us seem conditioned to do, and one of the questions I get asked often is, “If we ‘allow our lives to unfold’ on their own, does that mean we don’t do anything? That we just sit and wait for life to happen to us?”

To me, allowing does not mean just sitting and waiting and doing nothing. We still take action, but the action comes from following our heart, and from allowing things to unfold. It comes from a different place.

Immersing myself in listening to Anita’s two audio books, and avoiding as much news and social media as possible (although I must say I did enjoy watching this Bad Lip Reading video of the Inauguration…) has really helped me feel more hopeful that despite these very turbulent times. That there is a way to enjoy and embrace a meaningful, active life. There is hope, and joy. There is another reality than the very polarised discussions on almost anything on social media.

So, how has your January been?

 

 

end-of-year-reckoning

It’s that time again…

You know how Facebook does that thing, flashes up a memory that you can then share, or not… Last year’s Resolutions – or rather Intentions written in December 2015 showed up with the invitation to share. Of the four Intentions, none were actually reached, although much work was done towards them. I had no urge to press the “share” button.

But, it’s Reckoning time. So in my own time Facebook, I am sharing this image.

2016-intentionsSo I didn’t get to finalise the first draft of my novel, then called Without Consent, now titled Shakespeare Street, nor did I develop a flourishing author platform and due to lack of completed manuscript I did not get a book deal. I certainly did more media than last year and there was at least one blog that I felt hit the mark. But still. Awkward.

I said I would support myself through getting regular coaching (tick), keep meditation and doing yoga (tick, especially yoga), plan regular Artist Dates (some months better than others), nurture my relationships (tick), write, write, write (tick, but also lots of wasted time on Facebook, procrastinating etc.), actively seek media opportunities (tick).

So here’s what I did get up to in 2016:

  • Finished a Six Months to Write Your Novel course, completing about 75% of the Without Consent/ Shakespeare Street draft. And while I have now deemed that draft 0.1, followed on by somewhat chaotic draft 0.2, I showed up to that course. I learned. I realised that I really want to write literary fiction. You can read more about the ups and downs of the Novel Project here.
  • Managed to get an upgrade on the charitable status of the not for profit organisation I run, that frankly is a bit of a game changer.
  • Became a Desire Map Facilitator and ran a few courses with awesome women and shared around the goodness of Desire Mapping. (I have been a weekly devotee of Danielle La Porte’s Desire Mapping for two years now and can honestly say it has really changed my life.)
  • Got invited onto an inter-governmental committee in my state which means I can advocate beyond the health sector for the every day person who doesn’t get a say (and may I say, it was all in the Vision Book).
  • Attended a writing retreat in Delphi, Greece. (Also in the Vision Book). Coincidentally in Delphi learned about The Writer’s Studio which IS the right writing school for me. Did the pre-requisite Unlocking Creativity course and am now into a First Draft Novel course (hence the earlier drafts now deemed 0.1 and 0.2). It’s bliss.
  • Got myself an NLP Practitioner certificate.
  • Saw my daughter graduate from high school, psychically intact and on the road to whatever is next.
  • Became the household bread-winner, to keep on pushing out on those gender boundaries. A house-husband (especially a renovating one) is the Best Thing Ever.
  • Developed a regular yoga practice.

Most of which wasn’t even on the List. And I am trying to do two things at once – run a not for profit AND write my first novel. So, you know. Ease up.

This luscious Christmas holiday break I have spent some time doing the Marie Forleo Thang of reviewing my 2016 with these three questions:

  1. What’s one thing you did that you’re proud of?
  2. What’s one mistake you made and the lesson you learned?
  3. What’s one story you’re willing to let go of before the New Year?

And also looking at Danielle La Porte’s Five Questions for your Deeper End of Year Review:

  1. What didn’t work?
  2. What did work?
  3. What were the highlights?
  4. What does the new year look like if it’s full of what works?
  5. Bonus Q: What do your highlights say about you?

So now it’s time to declare my 2017 Intentions.

  • Not for profit – hang out with more clinicians rather than bureaucrats
  • Not for profit – ensure at least one project idea develops into a fully-formed service.
  • Creative life – finish the Novel First Draft course by September with a manuscript good to go
  • Creative life – re-institute regular Artist Dates
  • Both – Showing up online – blog at least monthly for my work as well as for my author website
  • Personal – Have at least one overseas holiday and other travel when I can

Over to you

Do you love this time of reflection and thought? Are you going to set yourself any Intentions/ Resolutions/ Grand Dares? Maybe 2016 was not your year. So many people I know have found it a testing and trying year both at the awful, train-wreck macro-level of Brexit and Trump, as well as personally.

If you want to have a try at Desire Mapping your 2017 with me, you have the chance to think about how your Goals/ Intentions/ Resolutions/ Grand Dares will make you feel. Those feelings are important. They show how you most want to feel and can be identified, named as your Core Desired Feelings. These feelings can become your compass for your year. If you want to go through this process with me, my course link is here. Or, you can discover more about Desire Mapping for yourself.

Here’s to a MUCH better 2017 xxxx

 

childrengibranThis is a big week for me as a mother. And also the week of intense work deadlines – funding applications, meetings, early starts, late finishes. Coincidence? I think not!

If there is a skill I’ve mastered, it’s moving faster than life. Keep on cramming things into the day because look! There’s a gap there, you can squeeze in another meeting! No time to think or feel too much…

I caught sight of a toddler on Tuesday night in a restaurant. The plush, dimpled arms. The bewildering array of emotions exhibited in short amounts of time. The experimenting with eating a bit of food but largely massaging it into the tablecloth, own clothes, mum’s clothes, own hair-you get the idea. The folding into mum for comfort and sleep. I was listening to the table conversation but also watching this dimpled, exhausting gorgeousness that is toddler, my eyes returning again and again.

And my first and only born will be officially an adult on Friday. On Monday night I attended her school graduation, sang that ghastly school song for the last time. A week of deadlines indeed.

I prayed her school skirt would hold it together with the staples she applied at the last minute to draw together a ragged L-shaped rip that has been steadily growing in the last weeks. By some magic, the staples held together perfectly. The skirt’s now in the burning pile awaiting all the notes for the subjects she is yet to be examined on. They too will go into the post-exam pyre.

My husband sat next to me during the graduation and gently ribbed me about prizes as the ceremony progressed. He knows my family culture of valuing academic achievement. I laughed along but was still delighted by what she received after so many years of consistent work.

My heart leapt at various images of her that appeared in the powerpoint of photographs that scrolled through, especially the one of her asleep on the school desk-she’s never been a morning person. And the one of her playing bass guitar one night after we’d flown back from Greece and she’d had precisely one day to master a new song on an instrument she had rarely played.

We were late getting to the graduation, sat way at the back, didn’t get a photo of her getting her certificates, didn’t get any photos until she took a selfie of her and me after it was all over, with the stage and banner behind us. Not up on the stage, but away from the action. She said she’d send it to me after I promised not to tag her. She hasn’t yet. I watched the facebook posts the next day of parents with their graduating children, and had nothing to post. Nothing seemed enough to mark this week of milestones.

So this morning I decided to take a moment out of this hectic week, to push aside all thoughts of work deadlines, and just feel that enormous space of love, heartache, boredom, frustration, elation, from chubby dimpled child to actual adult.

And be grateful at the forethought that we have a studio flat out the back, so she will never actually have to leave home!!!