I’m feeling a bit breathless. The effort of squeezing myself out of a narrow pigeonhole has left me a little dizzy and light-headed. Fortunately my good friend, Robert Meyrick, is on his way round with a bottle or two of Prosecco to calm my nerves.
He is town to give a talk at The Royal Academy of Arts about a show he has researched and curated entitled From the Shadows; The Prints of Sydney Lee RA (1866-1949). Not since 1945 has there been an exhibition devoted to Lee’s art. It states in the guide book, ‘ This exhibition is entirely due to the vision of a tiny band of collectors who have kept faith with Sydney Lee’s work despite 60 years of neglect, and have quite literally snatched it from the shadows.’
One New Year’s Eve many moons ago my friend Tracy Lee and I donned headscarves and sunglasses and posed drunkenly in front of his vast and beautiful painting The Roman Wall (1925). It made me smile to see it again hanging over a magnificent marble fireplace in Academy. But that is one of the possibilities of a creative life. The spotlight can shine on you at any moment.
The theme of this exhibition chimes with my current mood as I too feel that I am emerging from out of a dark shadow. For the last year or so I have felt myself being squeezed into a narrow pigeon-hole labelled, middle aged mid-list author. I do not see myself in this way but cannot seem to shake off this feeling that somewhere along the line a young intern has placed me on an end of writing life pathway where I do not belong.
BUT I AM FIGHTING BACK.
Step One - Altering my own perception
I do not have to accept my place in the pigeon-hole. My head and heart are brimful of stories waiting to be told
Step two - Writing for me
I have taken three steps backwards in order to move forward and I am writing those stories that have been niggling away at my soul.
Step three - Finding fresh fields to conquer
I have been travelling in order to find myself. A visit to the creative writing department at
and the warm welcome I received was a boost. And many thanks to Megan for
reading my latest novel and giving such smart feedback! Cornell University
Step four - Old Friends
The support of SASSIES and Islington Writers’ For Children Group has kept me going.
Step five - Never Giving Up
No matter what I can’t stop creating characters and telling stories. It is woven onto my DNA. It is impossible for me to give up.
So I am on the move flying towards a more comfortable pigeon-hole. I can just make out the label. It says …?