Apparently, we’re nearly done with 2018. How? How how HOW?! Last week it was summer and I was flopping around the house in wafty harem pants because wearing anything else felt like I was steaming to death, now it’s Christmas. [Munch Scream face] There are a number of reasons for that, to be fair.
One is that Brexit makes it feel as if the entire country has been trapped in a bad am-dram production of Groundhog Day. Another is that the weather here has been basically stuck on ‘meh’ since August, which made September blur all the way into December. I wrote a book. And in July, we started to buy a house after house-hunting for eighteen months (hurray!) and immediately got stuck in the dementing ball-pit that is the English house-buying process (hurroo). I typed a whole paragraph just there, then deleted it because the only thing more boring to read about than Other People’s Dreams is Other People’s Conveyancing.
Anyway, to cut a long and very tedious story of covenants short (IF ONLY THAT WERE POSSIBLE IN REAL LIFE), we moved into our new home this month, and I went to the storage units to reclaim my worldly goods, which had been languishing there since I sold my house. If I tell you that this container here is just the books, you’ll see what a task sorting everything out has been. It seems my old house was insulated entirely by tightly stacked Latvia and Lithuanian editions of my own output.
I may have mentioned this before, but when the lady at the storage units asked me why I had so many books, I said, ‘I’m a writer.’ (Proudly. I never get tired of saying that, tbh.) She said, ‘Oh, really? Might I have read anything you’ve written?’ And I replied, ‘Well, you might have read A Hundred Pieces of Me? It’s about a divorced woman who decides to get rid of everything she owns apart from a hundred really special items….’ And then we both side-eyed the five containers I’d just rammed with junk, and she generously said nothing.
Gina’s always been a character I’ve felt close to, so I’ve been trying to follow her example of giving things away with an open heart. But it’s hard. My theory is that everything has a memory half-life: you can chuck these photos out today, but those might take another year to let go. Apparently sale bargain shoes have a really, really long half-life. And I seem to have spent the past five years slowly buying up the entire national stock of velcro rollers. If you have any handy mantras to ease the process of sorting out and dejunking, please let me know. Also if you want some Lithuanian and Latvian translations, let me know about that too. I have some going spare.
My other favourite character is Rachel Fenwick, nee Fielding, from Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts, the defiantly non-dog-person PR girl with an all-black wardrobe who found herself in charge of a run-down dog-hair bomb of a rescue. The good news for anyone else who enjoys Rachel’s dry wit and lively relationship with her vet husband George is that they are both back, back, BACK in my new novel, Unexpected Lessons in Love. (I see also there that Lost Dogs is currently 99p on Kindle – bargain!). The main storyline follows songwriter Jeannie, who makes a somewhat controversial decision on her way to her wedding to fiance Dan, a decision that changes the course of several lives. Getting lost in Jeannie’s moral and emotional dilemmas has been another reason for this year flashing past – I hope you’re all going to enjoy it when it hits the shelves in May.
So that’s why my blog posts have been a little infrequent this year. I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better in 2019. Although, 2018 is not over yet…