It’s Been A Long While Between Entries

The sadness of life.

Ceci N'est Pas Une Blog

I saw my actual oncologist on 5 June. Dr. McCormack was all smiles again. She’s impressed with how terrifically well I’m doing (unquote). I’m stable and although the side effects from the hormones can be uncomfortable, they aren’t unbearable.

This is not how it usually goes for women my age with recurrent uterine cancer. I feel like I should start carrying around some kind of evidence that recurrent uterine cancer really is inoperable, incurable, and terminal.

And yet it’s been a sad couple of years.

I’m still trying to adjust to life in a world without—among others—Susan Casper, Gardner Dozois, and Earl Cooley III. And Harlan Ellison.

When I was diagnosed, I called Gardner and Susan to tell them about it before I posted the news publicly. Neither of them was critically ill when I got the Diagnosis of Doom. Nor was Earl or Geri or Georgina or most of…

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Mid Year Report Part 2

Maurice Greenham

In the first episode of this mid 2018 report, I mentioned just a few of the adventures and misadventures I have had since returning home from my trip to Australia New Zealand and the Far East. There have been countless other incidents…but a flavour is probably more that sufficient. My 77 birthday is only a couple of months away…it seems incredible how swiftly the years have gone by…and disturbing to feel that time is speeding up…we won’t even put a foot on the path of thinking that time might be running out.

Whilst I have always liked to be involved in social activities, choirs, drama groups, outings, etc. I don’t think that I have ever been so engaged with such a wide variety of undertakings and concerns. For years, HIV was top of my agenda…but it has gone from the desperate struggle of staying alive…to just another health issue to…

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#Friday favourites: Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables

Getting ready to go Malta, I downloaded half a dozen books onto my Kindle, because running out of things to read would have completely ruined my holiday. Among my selection was a thriller, a fantasy, a real life account from a locum doctor working in London, a literary novel and “Anne of Green Gables”.

The last time I’d read the Anne books was when I was in my early teens. I’d loved them then and Anne Shirley and Avonlea had stayed in my imagination ever since. The image of the orphan girl waiting at the station to be picked up by Matthew Cuthbert, only to be told that they had requested a boy and she was to be sent to back to the orphanage was haunting, as was the night and day she had to wait before Marilla and Matthew changed their minds and let her stay at Green Gables, the house she had fallen in love with at first sight.

From then on I had followed Anne’s story avidly. Journeying with her from childhood to adult and loving every minute.

Re-reading the books, I had an initial moment of doubt. At first Anne’s optimism and  her gushing over romantic view of the beauties of Nature was a little wearing, until it was punctured by the author’s sly humour.

When Anne and her friends go on a romantic picnic, the other girls drink lemonade, but Anne insisting on the beauty of her surroundings and the crystal stream that flows through them insists on drinking from the brook, which LM Montgomery hastens to tell us tasted of mud.

There is humour too in the scrapes Anne gets into, like dying her hated red hair green, or getting her best friend drunk on homemade wine, which she has mistaken for cordial.

Time and time again Anne is brought down to earth, but never in any destructive way. The dour Marilla and acerbic Mrs Lynde soften towards her, she gathers a group of girl friends who will stay with her for life and of course there is her relationship with Gilbert Blythe.

The language may be a little old fashioned in places, but the exploration of developing relationships and the emotional lives of the characters ring true. Nor does the writer avoid the realities of life in the early part of the twentieth century. There are deaths, some easy, others harrowing.

What also appeals is that the books are full of strong women who are not dependent on men for their sense of identity. Anne and her friends go to college and graduate with BAs just as the men in their lives do. Some of them also work for their living, teaching school, and while marriage will put an end to this career, there are widows who own boarding houses, women of independent means who go travelling late in life as well as the wives and mothers.

I also love the sense of place and the vivid descriptions of the seasons, from the chill of winter to the beauty of spring when the landscape is awash with blossom, lushness of summer and the rich colours of autumn.

“A September day on Prince Edward Island Hills; a crisp wind blowing up over the sand dunes from the sea; a long red road winding through fields and woods, now looping itself about a corner of thick-set spruces, now threading a plantation of young maples with great feathery sheets of ferns beneath them, now dipping into a hollow where a brook flashed out of the woods and into them again, now basking in open sunshine between ribbons of goldenrod and smoke-blue asters.”

All in all, re-visiting Avonlea has been a delight.


Clinging on


It’s time to let go. But I can’t. I simply can’t upload that file and send if off. I’ve lived with this book for so many years. It’s been edited, re-written, tweaked and proofed and now I’m about to send it out into the world.

Is it ready? Am I ready?

If I keep it safe on my PC any longer, I’m in danger of spending months agonising over a phrase or a comma, so it has to go.

In all honesty there’s nothing more I can do to it, so why am I clinging on? Why have a spent the whole of today procrastinating?

It might be ready, but emotionally I am not.

The trouble is, once it is out there, it is no longer mine. yours. It belongs to anyone who reads it. Which, of course, is the whole point of writing.

So good luck “City of Secrets”, it’s time to press send.

PS “City of Secrets” is my new book for 8-12 year olds. The first of the Letty Parker series it will be out in October 2018