Diary of a hopeful author: There’s lot you can learn from the pages of a book

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…

Photo of a Diary

I feel like I’m on Mission Impossible. You know that bit in the film when Tom Cruise gets the note and then it will, ‘destruct in 5 seconds’. You know that bit? Well, that’s me now. Not that I mean I’m Tom Cruise, you understand, although, to be fair, I did have a poster of him on my wall from the Top Gun days next to Goose. Ah, lovely, sweet Goose.

Anyhoo, I mean here the destruction note bit. By which I really mean, a lot is happening writing wise that I STILL cannot divulge and if I told you, I would explode (not really). Safe to say, it’s all good, but still, I am keeping quiet for now until the whole lot is finalised.

So, in the meantime, I have decided to unearth a Citizen and Echo column I wrote last year about books, funnily enough, and, specifically, what we can learn from within them. Turns out, it’s lot. But hey, you knew that, right?


“There’s a lot you can learn from the pages of a book” – Citizen & Echo Column, Saturday 20th April, 2013

There’s a lot you can learn from the pages of a book. From as early as I can remember, my life has been directed by the novels I have read. Rules on friendship? Try Mallory Towers. Want to know about poverty and the shame of society? Charles Dickens is your man. Need to understand how to talk to a boy without turning the colour of a beetroot? Have a Jackie annual.

Books, novels, the words on pages – they affect what we do, the way we think. They shape who we are. As the years have gone by, the learning I glean from books has changed just as my life, the rollercoasting, boat-journeying time that it is, has changed too.

Bleary-eyed and strung out on broken sleep, my first few months of motherhood a decade ago were saved by books. Sleep. Sleep was our heroin back then in those hazy first weeks. We craved it, fantasied over it, endlessly talked about it. We would have dreamed about it save for the fact that to dream you need to, you know, sleep.

Desperate and, quite frankly, shattered, I turned to a book for help – and it worked. The book, the words, the instructions, the delightful, exquisite advice it gushed meant our new baby, finally, slumbered and so too did us zombied parents.

As our children grew, so did my reading quota. Terrible two issues? I’ll have a book about that, thank you. First day at school and feeling sad, oh child of mine? I think I saw a picture book in the library on that, my girl.

Of course, the danger, the hidden terror of learning life’s lessons through the words of, what is effectively, another person, is that the message they give may not actually be helpful. The time, for example, when I followed the advice of feeding my then toddler chopped liver once a week, only for the stuff to be regurgitated by her all over my head half an hour later, shall be filed forever under, ‘what was I thinking?’

But it’s the good times, the good advice that stays with you, that shapes your thoughts, how you act, what you do. My girls are fast approaching teenage years and while I look forward to it, I am also – shocker – apprehensive. But it’s okay. I’ve got it covered – I already know what book I’m going to buy.


Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog…**

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