Lately: Things like veteran funerals, draft completions and the consequences of bunkering down

IMG_9425It’s been a while. There really is no excuse as a blog is a big 300 – 500 words and it takes a sneeze to write (for someone like me who sneezes in 500 word blocks. Metaphorically of course. Literally would be gross). So I’m checking in to say hi before I fly out of the country.

So let me take you through my tumultuous month. Having set myself a Halloween deadline to finish the first draft of the book I’m ghosting, I missed by a mile. In fact, its all down to this week to finish it off and get it to the second lot of test readers before I fly out to a conference with hubby. It’s terrifying, letting people you don’t know take your manuscript – which may aswell be my baby – and attack it with a pen and a critical eye – which may aswell be a scalpel. But the first guages on this book have been overwhelmingly positive, for which I am in equal parts relieved and thankful.

I shouldn’t have doubted. I am a good writer, and more importantly my client is full of incredible content.

It still meant I had to bunker down, cancel my social life and write like fury. I’m nearly there! On Friday I will be sending out crudely bound manuscripts flanked with confidentiality agreements and jumping on a plane to Malaysia.

Fun fact no one tells you about writing: When you’ve bunkered down, the dishes don’t get done. Neither does the laundry. I don’t think I even checked the mail. I certainly didn’t put the bin out, or do my hair and make-up on the days I didn’t leave the house (and there were a lot of them). This is the glamorous life of an author that I have dreamed about for so long.

But who am I kidding? I love it. And what I love even more is that in a weeks time, I will be free to write like fury on my fiction novel that has been begging for attention for so long. Turns out you can’t write two books at once. One ends up being the favourite child and the other ends up wearing hand-me-downs and lapping up the last dregs of your obligatory attention.

As part of looking after the favourite child, I had to interview a Defence force veteran. While half way through the interview, I came to a horrible realisation: I was supposed to be at the funeral of another veteran at the exact same time. My guilt was somewhat satiated by the fact that the 92 year old had said he did not want a funeral. Never-the-less, he had enriched our lives since we met him so we had to mourn him. My church had hosted a civic Sunday just before Rememberance Day, in which we gave him a tribute.

A week later, he got a proper burial. I’m glad about that. But I’m sad that a veteran who fought for his country, who cherished freedom, and who bore the scars of freedoms purchase for the rest of his days, died like he did. He never got over the war. His family lived far away. We took him in, took him Sunday night roast every week, invited him for Christmas, and did what we could. We couldn’t kill the loneliness or survivor guilt.

I don’t know why, but I wanted to acknowledge that. Rest in peace sir. I know it seemed to you like the world had gone crazy. In fact, I agree with you. It has. I know you didn’t die on the battlefield, but you carried the battlefield with you until two weeks ago. You don’t carry it now. Enjoy your freedom.

Those of us who remember you will enjoy ours – knowing it had a cost, that it must be protected and cherished.





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