“Stop day-dreaming and do something!”
It’s strange, looking back, to see how clearly my mother’s reprimand focused on what I would now consider to be the central point of my obsession. Her persistent cry drove me to the attic where, because she considered them nothing but collectors of dust, my father’s books were stored. And thus was born my passion with the words, the ideas, and the human condition which were to be found within their pages.
Naturally, given that I am an INFP* it wasn’t long before I started, in my own, childish way, to attempt to reproduce them. How well I recall that first rejection slip, received when I was fourteen, in response to a short story narrated by the ghost of a dog, and duly submitted to Argosy the, then, crème de la crème of short story magazines.
Was it the teenage angst that saw me pouring my heart out on paper that spurred me on in my obsession? Or was it working as PA to Paul Gallico, famously author of The Snow Goose and Ludmilla? It’s hard to tell, but certainly the brutality of betrayal, rejection and divorce in what was, then, a man’s world, led me to publication of my first book: Divorced But Not Defeated.
Others followed. Many others. And it was a short step from there, and the pitifully grateful response from readers, to realising where my passion lay. In a paraphrase from the New Testament verses about bringing the comfort I have received to comfort others, it was to bring hope to the hurting.
Do I still obsess? You bet I do! I see little children starving in a world of plenty and I cry. I see 2rd World youngsters ravaged, or orphaned, by HIV/AIDS and I weep. I see UK teenagers, so bored, so unable to appreciate this beautiful world they live in that they drink themselves to death, or drug themselves into oblivion, and I rant. Which is why, when I wrote my novel, A Painful Post Mortem, based on the life and death of my daughter, and the healthy survival of her child, I stipulated that all proceeds were to go to charities defending the plight of the helpless and hopeless.
Now that, to me, is an obsession worth having. It's not a day-dream, as my mother would have. It’s doing something!
*Myers Briggs Type Indicator – Introvert, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perception
Causes Mel Menzies Supports
Tearfund: for their project with babies born HIV+ and children orphaned by AIDS.
Care For The Family: for their work in educating adolescents to the...