I’m welcoming an “old” new friend back today. Another from the Crooked Cat basket. She knows the ropes so I won’t bother helping her off the magic carpet and Cameron has a date (!) so I’ll do the catering myself.
Welcome, Cathy (hugs)
Hello! (hugs) How lovely to be here again! That magic carpet is wonderful. Environmentally-friendly, too. I’m sorry to miss Cameron – I was very cheeky to him last time so I promise to be on my best behaviour if we meet again. Let us know how his date goes and whether he’s ready to settle down!
I will do, he’s all excited because it’s a Dutch guy & he’s had not much luck with French. Quick happy dance!
Every time I read an interview with you, I get an “Oo me too” response. Let’s swap some stories. I hope this won’t turn into a pity-party or misery session but I want to see how much our pasts reflect in our writing.
Your childhood wasn’t very happy, was it? Go on – I’ll share afterwards.
My childhood was one of those religion-and-violence ones, where I was hit a lot and preached at a lot. My father, the source of the violence, was also the headmaster of the strict Catholic school that I attended, so I couldn’t get away from him. He also abused me sexually (he got the same Papal knighthood as Jimmy Saville, though I don’t think that paedophilia is necessarily a criterion). It was obviously horrible and messed me up, though I do think that one of the advantages of an unhappy childhood is that getting older is a joy. I also escaped into reading, writing, and crying into the cat’s fur. Books and animals can save us.
I’m sorry that you’ve suffered too, Ailsa. 😦
Nothing like as bad as yours. How about work? What have your experiences with that been like?
I’ve done so many jobs! My first job was at 13 selling T-shirts in a kiosk on Morecambe promenade, and it was surprisingly lovely – outside but sheltered and sitting down, and with a view of the sea and the sky. Then a shop called Clogs and Wellies, which was an education – we met clog-dancing troupes and sold clogs soled with irons. As for adult jobs, I’ve been a civil servant and a life model, but most of my working life was in childcare. Since my health forced me to give that up I’ve been writing nonstop.
As if for compensation for my rotten childhood, I’ve been incredibly lucky with partners and friends. My big teen love I met at 18? Well, I was at his 50th birthday party recently and he’s still lovely! My best friend and I fight like a cat and a dog who’ve just discovered an armoury, but we’re solid. My husband Keir is the revelation. I very nearly did the ‘sensible’ thing of settling for someone not right, as I thought that I had to be ‘grown-up’ about it and ‘make it work’. Fortunately he was wildly unfaithful to me before the wedding, so I escaped. Then I met Keir. He’s the best writer of the two of us really, and here’s what he says: “I’m grateful for Cathy. We’re like two weirdly-shaped cogs that happen to mesh together, and watching us spin in motion is kind of magical, but I’m glad we do mesh. Without her I wouldn’t be me.” Who would have thought that calling someone a weirdly-shaped cog could be so romantic?! He isn’t perfect, but he’s perfect for me. One day I’d love to release a book of the love poetry we’ve written each other, but it would probably be unbearably soppy.
Yup – that is truly ideal! You said that you also get that reaction so you can ask me some questions now – I love being on the other side of the table and yes, I’ll make some frothy coffee. As this seems to be going on into an all-day interview I’ll get something out of the freezer so you can eat with me and we’ll make this a two-day blog-spot!