It started with a lump, well maybe it didn’t quite start there. The roots probably go further back, but I am starting this life journey at the lump.
This year I fulfilled a lifetime’s dream of publishing my writing. I bit the bullet and self-published. I have two short stories out there, one soon to be in print and at least 8GB of brain memory filled with new ideas.
I started writing as a child, one who read voraciously. Enid Blyton was my hero, followed by J.R.R Tolkien a few years later. A whole host of amazing authors have made their mark on my brain, and my favourite author as an adult is Sharon Penman.
I have spent -gasp- 13 years working on a novel. Life got in the way, and when I thought it was finished, I discovered that it was a long way off, by about 70,000 words. In that time though I have worked on many other projects and have a list of WIP that rival the normal person’s TBR list.
Last year I met a man who has become a friend, a man who inspired me and woke me up from merely existing. I followed his advice (not to the letter) and in January I published ‘As Dreams Are Made On’ followed by ‘A Lifetime or a Season’ in February. I have learned so much in that time, made changes, paid for a professional to design my covers. (A Lifetime will be receiving an overhaul imminently) I have been able to take this experience though and put it into the changes that I need to make with the novel.
How did I meet this guy? He turned up to do a CBT (Compulsory Basic Training Course) for Motorbikes at the place I work. I also met another man there who came to do his full bike licence with us and after chatting he gave me the details of a friend of his who is also an author. She gave me some great advice when I started out, and it is through her that I came to employ the services of the amazing woman who provides me with the most beautiful book covers.
So, I can hear you asking “Where does the lump come into this?”
I woke up one morning some years ago, stretched -as you do. As I lifted my arm up above my head, I discovered a lump under my arm. This wasn’t a little limp that you had to use a magnifying glass to see. This was a lump of epic proportions. I eventually had it nicknamed my ‘third boob’. I’m sure you can all imagine the fear I experienced, the C word reverberated around my head. Imagine my fear when the Consultant ran across the hospital to see if he could get me booked in for an emergency scan. Mmm yes, I haven’t seen many doctors running outside of A&E.
It turned out to be a Lipoma (a benign tumour of fatty tissue). I was given the opportunity to have it removed straight away, or I could leave my third boob in place ( Rival Anne Boleyn’s finger count!). Of course I wanted it removed, sunbathing with three boobs was just weird. It tucked in rather nicely under my arm until I lifted it up and then the thing sat bold as brass. The Doctor was straight with me and said it is only cosmetic but because of the placement of it I could risk losing the use of my left arm if the surgery went wrong. I made the only sensible decision: so my third boob stayed.They told me to monitor it and if things got worse it would be removed.
A few years later, the tumour spread. I got to the point where I was in pain and couldn’t really move my neck easily. I returned to my local hospital where I was patronised by a different Consultant and had to wait ages to get an appointment for the removal. I went to my GP and was then referred to The Royal Marsden one of the best cancer hospitals in the world. The treatment I received was second to none though I felt slightly fraudulent when I saw the patients with ‘real cancer’. The operation was a success, but I had to take two weeks off work and wasn’t allowed to ride my scooter or lift anything heavy for three months.
In that time, my CBT bike licence expired as did my insurance, so my brother wheeled it into my back garden to wait my return. When the three months was up, and I knew my arm was strong enough, I booked myself in for a CBT. If my insurance and CBT hadn’t expired, I would have taken my bike to the training centre. Instead, I took my helmet, jacket, gloves and trousers. (Gear that other people have worn stinks to high heaven!) My instructor’s name was called Lewis. I was one of those students who pipes up with all the answer and an array of anecdotes and jokes (probably very annoying!). It transpired that Lewis’ mum lived locally to me, so I cheekily said “Give us a lift home.” He did. We chatted a while, and he told me that he and a friend Terry were setting up their own business. I knew of Terry, he also lived around the corner from me.
A week or so later I bumped into Terry, and we also talked about this new business venture. I was ready for a new challenge, so said if they were looking for admin then let me know.
It was about a year later that Terry turned up on my doorstep asking “Are you still looking for a job?”
I said “Potentially, come on in.”
So that is how the lump that scared me, that had me envisioning all sorts of dire ends brought me to a new job and meeting two men who in their own ways helped me in my self-publishing journey.
So maybe the moral of this particular story is that even when life is as bleak as it can get, it might just be a stepping stone to the life you are destined for. I look forward to continuing to pursue my dreams. At the moment I’m not living the life I love but I am on the path.