The long and winding road

 

The long and winding road that leads to your door

Will never disappear, I’ve seen that road before

It always leads me here, leads me to your door

(Lennon-Mcartney)

 
At my recent book signing for Honor’s Shadow in paperback at David’s Book Shop in Letchworth Garden City, I began my talk to the audience with a story from my own childhood.   When I was eight years old, Mr Roberts, the headmaster at my junior school, asked me to read my composition “A grey misty day” to the whole school in assembly.  He told my mother that I had a talent for creative writing, a comment that delighted her, as, when I was aged three, she had enrolled me, one year early, at the local library, in an attempt to get me talking, something I had yet to do.
 
I, too, was taken with this new idea of myself, and bought a small notebook, inscribing the cover with the words “A Book by Voula Tsoflias.”  Turning to the first page, and picking up my pen, I realized that I didn’t have a clue what to write.  I wonder if I would have been daunted, back then,  to know how very long it would take me to publish a book with my name on, or perhaps encouraged that, after so many decades of personal and professional experience, I would never again find myself at a loss for anything to write about.   (You can watch film clips of this talk HERE and HERE)
 
A member of the audience asked me why had it taken so long to develop this early potential, a question that provoked me to think about the many occasions, over the years  when I had almost pursued my ambition to write a novel, but became distracted. (You can watch the  Q and A session HERE
 
In my teens my mother had found a course in journalism that she thought I should do, but I was keener to work and earn some money, to be independent.  In my twenties, I went to University as a mature student, with the ambition to study English Literature, but on an impulse, switched to psychology.  My thirties were the motherhood years, and my forties was the decade when I developed a successful career as a business psychologist. 
 
This meandering life’s journey reminded of an inspiring book by James Hillman, an American psychologist:  The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling, setting out the concept of the daemon: a soul seed of a calling, a vocation, or simply of a particular way of living.  The daemon pushes for expression and life, prompting imaginings and dreams to make itself felt. 
 
There were so many times when I almost answered the call to write a novel.  It was not until my late forties that I gave in finally, and began the long, winding road to learn and develop the craft of writing, completing my MA in Creative Writing in 2006.  It was a huge relief, to put to rest that little nagging voice, like a small child constantly tugging at my sleeve, wanting attention. 
 
So the book signing,  presenting Honor’s Shadow publicly, was a momentous occasion, and an opportunity to recall and honour the two people, my headmaster and my mother (both long dead) who had first pointed out to me that there was something challenging and demanding that I might be able to do.  My mother in particular was a constant source of encouragement, and I am filled with grateful memories of a good and dedicated mother, eager to spot the potential of her children and nudge them towards it.  I so wish she had lived to see the publication of my first novel, I know she would have felt as proud and happy as I did. 
 
This post is dedicated to the memory of my mother Carole Barbara Tsoflias 1930 – 1982

 

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