Autumn Light

I had such plans for this year; writing plans for a novel and a novella, running plans for another Cardiff Half Marathon. But I hadn’t bargained on the posterior vitreous detachment, which temporarily knocked out a big old chunk of the central vision in my left eye, or the debilitating health problem which saw me fast-tracked then, thankfully, declared free of anything sinister. Just a couple of loose ends to tie up and all should be well again.

Perhaps things do happen for a reason; this year also brought the utterly amazing experience of being with Lily and Russ when their daughter was born, and with no deadlines to worry about, I’ve had the joy of spending unhurried time with our new granddaughter. Having Rose and Si move closer was an unexpected bonus and makes getting together a lot easier; a couple of weekends ago, for example, we had brilliant time at the Millennium Stadium watching Wales play Uruguay.



However, with my personal goals in disarray, there have been moments when I’ve questioned who I am. Am I’m still a writer if I don’t produce a new book? A runner if I’m not training for a race? Getting the all clear from the consultant put the spring in my step which has enabled me to really up my running mileage; I won’t be running the Cardiff Half this year but – fingers crossed – I’m going all out for Llanelli in March. And now the worry has lifted, I’ve started writing again too, because I want to and for the pleasure of it, not because I feel I must. There’s a lot of ‘stuff’ that comes with being published that I don’t enjoy, like the inevitable stinging review and fretting about what everyone else is doing so it’s easy, in low moments, to be dragged down by it. Voracious reading has helped me regain my writing appetite, and this wonderful post by literary agent, Lizzy Kremer, reminded me that the only ‘right’ path out of the writing wilderness is the one we choose for ourselves, the one we take hopefully and with joy. There’s a little autumn light at the end of the tunnel.




Comments

Unknown said…
Lovely post and very true - some years are just that way and fighting it only makes them harder. Wonderful you're doing so much better all around and roll on 2016! Angela Britnell
Frances said…
Chris, each year of our lives has got its own path, and we do not usually know where it will lead us. Autumn usually does make me a bit reflective, perhaps because of my September birthday, perhaps because the daily sunlight begins to shorten its stay.

Of course, you are a writer. Never doubt that. A runner, again yes, and a runner who is wise in choosing when and how to run.

A loving wife, mom and grandmom...all of that as well. And a dear friend, too.

I love Tom's picture and know that you will pass that appreciation on to him. The family photograph is a winner, guaranteed to bring smiles.

All best wishes to you and yours as this season advances with all its surprises. xo
Chris Stovell said…
Angela, thank you so much. Yes, I've certainly learned to roll with the punches a bit more this year but it's been much easier to get on since I got the 'all clear' Cx

That's so true, Frances. Because I'm too much of a control freak, I like to think I've got it all organised but having to take each day as it comes along has been good for me. Your very lovely comment has just brought tears to my eyes! Tom will be pleased that you love his painting too. Thanks so much for all your good wishes, Cx
Jane Lovering said…
I think we writers are our own worst enemies! We spend so long worrying about everything not being as we think it should be, and then everyone else seemingly doing so effortlessly what we struggle to think about doing...But life isn't a competition, my dear, we can only do what we can do, we are only running against ourselves. Sometimes we just have to snarl at our 'you should be doing all this...' instincts to make time to sit back and smell the metaphorical roses. And babies grow up so fast - you'll be glad you took the time.
Chris Stovell said…
Wise words, Jane. I think with so much emphasis on promo and publicity it's easy to run away with the idea that every other writer is writing two best sellers a year... wait a minute, you are (yet still have to work bloody hard on the day job as well). Smelling the metaphorical roses has been good for me and yes, babies do grow so fast. Bee's laughing now which is hilarious!
Chris you are still a writer even if you aren't actively writing a book and you are a runner even if you took a break to heal. Besides you've been writing this blog and this is telling, rather sharing a story with us.

I think you said it best, reading has helped you regain your passion for writing. So keep reading and write when you can. We inevitably compare ourselves to everyone else, but need not to make comparisons because those only lead to frustration and disappointment.

Even if you haven't accomplished your personal goals for this year you've still accomplished quite a bit!
Clare Chase said…
I’m so glad things are looking up now, Chris – and that you’ve had joy amongst the tough times. I really the coming year brings just the joy, unadulterated!!
Chris Stovell said…
Thank you so much, Chanpreet, for always taking the time to read my posts and for your very thoughtful responses. I think being in the writing wilderness has helped me temper some of that frustration and disappointment - I'm enjoying the path I've taken, now I just have to see where it leads. Thanks so much for the support.

Thanks Clare and for your good wishes. I've a lot to be very thankful for - especially that consultant's letter!
Kathryn Freeman said…
I love your posts Chris - always from the heart. I'm so glad you're back writing again. If you're anything like me, you can only write when things are going well in your world, so it's a very positive sign that all of you, and not just writer you, is on the up :-)
Chris Stovell said…
You're very kind, Kate! Yes, I think - fingers crossed - that things are on the up and I'm really enjoying writing again, phew!

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