Wistful Thinking

Part of my daughter’s poorliness has meant a trip to hospital. When everything is done and dusted, Lily and I retreat to where the lovely WVS ladies are serving refreshments whilst we wait for Tom to collect us. The teas are 80p each and we ask for two. ‘£1.80!’ says the dear lady. We give her a surprised look and she has another bash, except I then throw everything into chaos by asking for a bag of Jelly Tots as well.

A young Asian man wanders in looking punch drunk, clutching a shiny, black and white image which is drying in his hand. The image is of what looks like a satellite picture of the weather forecast, all swirls and mists. It is, of course, an ultrasound image of his child and looking at the father-to-be's face as he gazes as it makes me feel both privileged and unintentionally intrusive. I tell Lily about the moment I heard her heartbeat for the first time, when I barely believed I was pregnant, now here she is, a grown woman.

For many months now a huge stack of paper has been sitting in a filing tray on the floor of my study. It’s the ‘final’ version of Turning the Tide, well, the one that was the final version before the editing process which was all done electronically anyway. It suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t need to keep it anymore, yet it was still quite a wrench to switch it to my recycling pile. Although I do most of my work straight on the computer, I still like to print out the WIP from time-to-time as reading a hard copy gives me a fresh perspective and I can sometimes hear the rhythm of the words better.

The other thing I like to do is set up a box file for each book filled with anything that makes me think about the plot; photographs, cuttings, maps, legal points. I felt a touch of sadness as I closed the box file for Turning the Tide, but at least the new one for the WIP is coming along nicely and that feels quite exciting.

And finally...
Phew! I can relax at last. MiL, who gave up reading novels, has made an exception for Turning the Tide. Although it was very sweet of her I was a tad worried as MiL is less than keen on dogs, boats, bad language and vigorous horizontal romps all of which feature at least once in the book. Fortunately, we both seem to have survived with MiL declaring it ‘quite good for a first effort’. I wonder who was most relieved?

Painting is 'Offshore Surf' by Tom Tomos


elizabethm said…
I totally love "quite good, for a first effort". I am still smiling as I type:)
Preseli Mags said…
ElizabethM has written exactly what I was going to... I'm still smiling at that comment too. Funny to think of packing up TTT's 'baby' paraphernalia, it's all grown-up now. I hope your other grown-up baby is feeling much better now too after her hospital trip and good luck with the new baby WIP! (and now I'll give up on the baby analogy... xx)
Jane Lovering said…
By the time you've got that WIP ready to go, TTT will be all grown up and left home and you won't miss it at all. Probably. Glad your daughter is feeling better!
bodran... said…
hello chris, i think i must be the oly one not to have read your book yetbut don't worry it's on my "To do" list.. I'm camping down in new quay again the second week in august sometime so's tatty weasel.try not to be sailing that week. xx
Fennie said…
A lovely post, mixing so many things. I know just what you mean about not wanting to throw away paper. If I am not giving away my age, I still have carbon copies of things I wrote which are smudged and quite useless.

Just received my copy of TtT, by the way.
her at home said…
Damned by faint praise God bless MIL's everywhere!!!
Pondside said…
I guess it could have been a much worse comment. It took my mother nearly 10 years to read my sister's first novel - 57 weeks on the best-seller list and she couldn't be bothered because she didn't like novels. Love her dearly, but what a hurt for my sister.
Debs said…
Giggling at MiL's comment. I daren't think what mine would have to say about anything I wrote.

Hope Lily is better now.x
Flowerpot said…
Love MIL's comments! Definitely made me smile!!!
Lane said…
Aah, new babies, old babies, grown up babies. And then there's MIL!

Wonder what she'll make of your 'second effort':-)

Hmmm Jelly Tots. I'd forgotten all about those:-)
Frances said…
Chris, glad that your daughter is better. Hoping that she will be even better in days to come.

I love what you wrote about the encounter with the new dad-to-be.

I love Tom's Offshore Surf!

I am so glad that your next book is being written.

Your MIL's comment made me smile, too. I always have to remind myself that folks whom I like very much actually never read fiction. I allow them this oddity, realizing that another aspect of that oddity just might be that they are friends of mine!

liz fenwick said…
You have to love it ...damn good for a first effort!!!!

Margaret James said…
Oh, absolutely, I identified completely with what you said about your mother-in-law - mine is just the same. I think it was actually high praise indeed, bless her old boots...
Cottage Garden said…
I've sort of been away from Blogland intermittently Chris so I hope Lily is OK now ...

We had my MiL to stay recently and I was quite taken aback at her choice of bedside reading so I think she would really enjoy TTT (nudge nudge!!)


PS Are the eyebrows still looking perky? x
俊宏 said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
gaelikaa said…
Hi Chris, After a long time I'm over here to see you. Things have been a bit crazy for the last few months at home and I'm completely out of my routine. There's a lot of catching up to do.

Just to let you know, that I picked up the 'Prolific Blogger Award' from your blog after a long time. Thanks again.

I've posted on it on the following link. Have a look-

gaelikaa said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wisewebwoman said…
Hi Cris:
Been a while but I'm delighted about the book, is it in Canada yet? I hope daughter gets on the well track, how worrisome for you!
Love the MIL's commment. My BFF has never read a thing I wrote, not in magazines or newspapers or stories or blog and BRAGS about it to my other friends who are appalled.
People never cease to amaze me.
Chris Stovell said…
Elizabeth, yes hopefully I'll improve with practise!

Mags, it does feel a bit post-natal; long hours, no sleep, no time to get hair cut etc!

Jane... I hope so!!

Bodran - Hopefully I'll catch up with you then. Good!

Fennie, aw! Thank you for buying TTT, all support gratefully received.

HaH, You've got to love them!

Pondside, oh gulp, poor sister. (but huge respect for the 57 weeks on b/s list).

Debs, hopefully you'll find out soon. And thanks for good wishes for Lily.

Fp, so did I... eventually!

Lane, I can highly recommend revisiting Jelly Tots, although they do seem chewier now (or maybe it's my teeth?).

Frances, Tom's pleased that you like his painting. And thank you for your good wishes.

Yet another example, Liz!

Margaret - probably and also so I don't get too big for my old boots!

Jeanne, always good to see you (and I've been struggling to get around blogland too). It's always interesting to see what everyone's reading - and to be surprised.

gaelikaa, as I've just said above, I've been very pushed too - but thank you so much for your comments on your blog - which I enjoyed catching up with.

Wisewebwoman - you and me both. Sorry to have been a rare visitor, just don't know where time has gone. Interesting to read of your experiences!
Boonsong said…
This is a charming post. Thanks for this.

Best regards, Boonsong
Chris Stovell said…
Boonsong - welcome and thank you!
Sallys Chateau said…
Quite good for a first effort !! high praise indeed, gosh you make me smile.
Calico Kate said…
Really looking faorward to the new WIP when it is a F&PB! Do hope Lily is feeling better. MIL you gotta lov'em!

Popular Posts