My oldest and dearest friend Fiona, whom I met at the age of eleven, met me in a city cafe for an editing session, the main subject of our meeting being my 'desires'. We got straight down to business over strong coffee.
As I said in my profile, my book is not just a travel memoir, but it has also become a book about my unsatisfied desires, which, let's face it, everybody has (whether you are a twenty-two year old mechanic or an eighty-three year old grandmother). However, Fiona had some very strong opinions regarding the way I was portraying myself in relation to these desires, specifically my desire for SOMEONE TO GIVE DAMN:
"Perhaps you need to ask for it [help]! This sounds like a really miserable life and might make the reader wonder why you have no friends? They might then presume that you are or could be ‘unlikeable’ and you could lose the readers’ sympathy. This is so far from the truth as you are sooooo likeable, have a multitude of friends who do really ‘give a damn’ and aren’t some loser that nobody wants to know! Maybe try and read these from a reader’s perspective who only has what’s written here on which to form a picture of who you are and what you’re like. You don’t do yourself justice – you aren’t making yourself very appealing or empowered".
Well, she certainly said it as it was, but I really appreciated her honesty. After all, Fiona knows me better than anyone. She was right. I do have lots of fantastic friends and I am a fun, assertive, enthusiastic and strong woman who loves her life (most of the time).
I guess, I wanted to emphasise my feelings of despair at times to give a more honest portrayal of life as a single mum. Because, although most days my smile is genuine, there are times when I just want to run away from the loneliness I feel.
Fiona's reality check made me acknowledge that I needed to get rid of the hundreds of POOR ME violins playing in the background of my story.
At this point of the discussion, our Eggs Benedict arrived, fulfilling one of my most important desires - TO RELISH