We are, in our family, very excited right now. The reason for that,you ask? Gill’s first book, “The Last Wave” launches in the UK on May 4. She is, in my humble estimation, as her completely unbiased mother and blog partner, a wonderful writer — thoughtful, observant, funny, and best of all, a great story teller.
This book launch is the culmination of all those years of formal schooling and raw talent — the inklings of which appeared when she was back in grade school, crafting clever ‘get out of school’ notes for fellow classmates. I won’t mention the ‘forging the parental signatures skill’ that went hand-in-glove with the prose…nobody needs to know about those small breaches of etiquette or youthful dabbles into a life of petty crime.
I have watched Gill’s progression through university, from that first day when, crippled from Spondylitis (a form of Arthritis) and unable to walk from her bedroom to the bathroom, she first cried out profanities and then dragged herself down the hall. Like an insistent toddler testing her first independent wobbly steps, she cried, “I can do it myself!” And off she went.
She hasn’t stopped yet. Not even when I looked at her, suitcases packed, ready to board the plane to the UK to study Creative Writing years ago at a small arts school in Cornwall.Nothing odd about that, you say. No, there wasn’t. It was the boogie board and flippers she carried that gave me the first clue that she had chosen her school partially because it was located in the ‘California’ of England, blessed by the jet stream that brought great surfing and palm trees — two things she remembers fondly from her real time spent in California as a child.
Then came her PhD program at the University of Glasgow. Her thesis was her first official novel. It hasn’t been published yet, but perhaps some day…
On her way to her current novel, she kept writing.Her subjects not to everyone’s taste, perhaps. There was the ‘talking pigeons’ book. Well, they were actually meant to showcase a dysfunctional family (no reflection on her own, of course!) and then she briefly worked on a novel about a girl who hired a stalker to help her on the path to fame. This venture may have been abandoned as a non-starter. But certainly when she lived with me she wrote…and wrote…and wrote. I was forbidden entry to her room unless my reasons for seeking her out involved death or dying…or a lot of blood…or clean laundry.
But now that she’s being published and having BBC interviews, I can truthfully say it was worth all the sacrifices: a large portion of my retirement funds, a drinking habit that I can’t seem to shake (but then, why would I?), a basement full of her treasures –everything she ever wrote in the way of a note, scribbled recollection of a bad nightmare, letter (never posted) or card to childhood, teenaged, and then university friends–all to be saved for the fortunate library that will eventually house the collection of ‘her early works’ for posterity. At least there is potential there…the old bottles of water from San Francisco Bay, the sand from the beach at Santa Cruz, the shells from B.C., perhaps less so…but still they stay. And everyone who knows us knows of our constant battle over her collection of the entire series of Nancy Drew books. I throw them out on threat of death!
But I will, as Gill imagines, turn up to her Canadian book launch dressed well (although not in the ballgown she insists I will choose) and act suitably decorous, sophisticated, yet humble…as befits the proud mother of a famous author! Then when we can no longer hold in our emotions, I and our motley family crew will clap and yell and whoop with glee at her success.It’s the least she deserves after all those years of hard work. We’re proud of you, Gill!!