Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Finding the Words - Eve Ainsworth

I think we all have them. We’ve all experienced a terrible year, where a life event can shake you to the core and leave you totally disorientated. I was always worried about it happening. I never quite expected the outcome when it did.

2014 began with such promise. I’d secured my first book deal the year before. I was to be a published author. I spent most of the early months, editing and fine tuning my new book. I felt so happy. So relieved. Finally, things were going as I hoped they would. I would be an author, everything would be good.

And then suddenly, tragically, in May the same year – my father died.

There are no words to describe the feelings or the deep loss that I immediately felt. This was the man that I announced all my news and gossip to. This was a man I laughed and moaned with on a regular basis. This was a man who understood me at times better than I understood myself. And now he was gone, leaving my whole family bereft. And I was left with a great, gaping wound, without a clue how it would ever heal.

The weeks that passed are lost to me now. I wrote a eulogy. I sat listening to his music. I sank into a lonely and unforgiving place. Staring at my computer, I’d look at words that I’d once written and they now looked lost to me, foreign. I no longer wanted to write. I didn’t think I’d be able to again.

Then one day I remember being curled on a chair, quite childlike – watching my children play, finding some peace in their normal behaviour. My mind began to wander and words began to form. I guess it was my imagination kicking in again. It was like the slow glimmers of heat returning.

Thankfully we went on holiday a few months later, to a place so remote and peaceful – I could finally find myself begin to unwind and relax. Perhaps it helped that there were no memories there, that I could just focus on the moment. I made myself no promises. I wasn’t expecting to be creative, I still felt so raw inside – but somehow the words started to flow on my notebook. Back home I began to type, fast and ruthless.

Book two began to swamp and surround me like a great, warm security blanket. In my characters I could focus on other matters, on other concerns. My brain was rested from my grief, albeit briefly. I played my Dad’s classical music again – but this time it swept me up and comforted me. I wrote Crush with a sense of relief and purpose. I wouldn’t stop writing. In fact I couldn’t stop. This was natural and cathartic. It helped me to heal.

And thank goodness I didn’t stop – because it was the best therapy I could’ve ever had. And as a result, my next book is extremely special to me. I think it always will.

Meanwhile, my new tradition of writing to classical, restful music continues – that way I feel a little bit of my Dad is with me, nodding his approval and tapping along gently with the beat.



Sue Bursztynski said...

I know how you felt, Eve. My own father died of cancer BEFORE I could tell him I had sold my first novel. He would have been so proud. I'm glad to hear your creativity has come back and that the music makes you think of him in a positive way. I think I would cry if I played my own Dad's favourite music.

Eve Ainsworth said...

Oh Sue your story is so similar to mine. My Dad knew about my first book deal but never saw it published. Such a bittersweet time.
Thank you for commenting x

Heather Dyer said...

Beautiful. Really moving, and inspiring to hear that your creativity helped you heal, and that your dad's influence through music is helping you to be creative.

Jane Clarke said...

Eve, love, empathy and sympathy to you and anyone going through the agonies of a horrible year. In 2001 my mum, dad and husband (age 47) all died suddenly and my first book was published uncelebrated. I was advised by a grief counsellor to write to my dead husband each day - so I kept writing, but all the creativity was knocked out of me and I was sure I'd never write for children again. To my surprise, after a few months it returned in a rush. Now 14 years and 80 plus books on.

catdownunder said...

When my mother died my father, who loves woodwork, did none at all for months. He didn't even unlock the shed. He gardened but also spent hours just sitting staring into space.
Then someone from his church phoned and said, "I need some help to cut up the timber for a job at the cathedral. Can I bring it down and use your circular saw."
Of course my father said "Yes." They had to do the job between them. The following day my father went back to his woodwork. I think that (a) being needed and (b) doing something quite ordinary at the point of being needed were the circuit breakers for him.
It's hard though. Thanks for sharing.

Eve Ainsworth said...

Hearing your stories is so moving, it really is. Thank you so much for commenting and for sharing your experiences. Life can be hard going sometimes xx

Sue Purkiss said...

Much sympathy, Eve, and glad that, in the end, writing helped.

Joan Lennon said...

Thank you for sharing - your father would be proud.

Sue Bursztynski said...

On a cheerier note, Eve, my student thoroughly enjoyed your novel and so did I. You have a fine career ahead of you.

Eve Ainsworth said...

Thank you so much.
Sue that comment has made my day x

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