Lately I’ve wanted – despite the joy of being at the Book Fair – to throw in the towel on my writing. To say, “I gave it my best shot, and I’ve had enough.” But what stops me is the realisation that this is one field of endeavour that I can honestly call my own.

True, it owes its genesis to the generosity and encouragement of others, in particular, my husband. But having cultivated this particular creative garden, it has taken root and is well established. So I don’t feel justified in pulling it all out and leaving behind bare earth. And if I did, how would I spend the time that not writing would free up? Would I have the courage to do what I want, or would I expend even more of my efforts in helping others?

I realise my cogitations make me sound very selfish. I’ve just had four days away from home, exploring to my heart’s content. But doing that, I have been able to notice how lopsided my ‘ordinary’ life has become, how joyless; and just how much of my effort has been invested for others. I say, automatically, “I don’t mind,” but actually, I mind very much. And however often I may assume it doesn’t matter, clearly my body has other ideas: I am forced to recon with my giving tendencies when I am sore, exhausted and depressed.

I suppose I have to be more honest about what I would like to do. But I’m not used to it, not really. Hubby says, “Go out and have fun…!” which for him might be easy to decide and do. Whereas I sit quietly wondering what that might entail, pondering what fun might be. Going to the cinema? Not very active. Going shopping? Yes, but that’s a consumerist effort. Reading a book? I recon I’ve done enough of that for a while. Watching television? No, I want to get outside. Go for a walk? Yes, somewhere nice, maybe… I would love to go for a walk, at my pace, in a wooded place, where I don’t have to fret that I’m late, or in the way, but can enjoy great lungfuls of cool, fresh air.

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