Good news at last

We’ve had one of those weekends that rock you.

All on the go. Birthday parties and visits from an overseas daughter, and my husband now early Sunday morning, travelling in his brother’s ute to collect a son in law’s parent’s no- longe-needed washing machine and take it from Keysborough to Kensington – a hike across the south eastern suburbs through town along the freeway, and then tomorrow morning an early dash to the airport along that same freeway in the other direction, to take the daughter back to her current home in Japan, and then life might settle down once more.

In the meantime, my head’s dizzy with it all.

I’m worried about my heart rate. Apparently it’s too slow, the heart rate of an Olympic athlete, the doctor told me, but given I’m nothing like an Olympian, a complete anomaly.

When we discovered this low heart rate, as low as thirty six beats per minute – I understand most people come in around sixty – I had no symptoms such as dizziness or fainting. But now, every time I find the slightest hint of a swirl in the brain, wobbliness in my feet, I imagine the dreaded low heart beat, in which case the doctor told me I might need a pace maker.

An echocardiogram of my heart last November when I was still in hospital over my broken wrist revealed nothing, so my slow heart rate remains an anomaly.

But now I have a new source for hypochondriasis. I fret whenever my head feels anything other than its usual steady self.

Bodily complaints are standard for people who are getting older and ever so boring, except for the person who’s so afflicted. Interesting perhaps for people who share a similar decline but otherwise too far off the mark for liveliness.

I have an academic friend who’s putting up excerpts from Andy Warhol’s diary daily on her Facebook feed.

Fascinating stuff because we know it’s the great Warhol but if we didn’t know that I suspect his trips to the supermarket and encounters with so and so, and thoughts about this and that would be as boring as my description here.

The good news is Interactive Publications have agreed to publish my book later this year.

I had planned a loud megaphone call out to everyone with this good news but it’s funny now that I’ve signed the contract, my sense of the journey ahead causes me to settle and reflect on the need for quiet.

Though in this lifetime with so many loud and competing voices, I probably need to shout about it.

Still I find myself imagining something might come between me and this book even yet.

This book that started as far back as 1995.

That’s a long time in the writing. This book has seen as many incarnations and there have been many years between.

In essence, it’s the story of my childhood, the life of a girl who spent most of the time waiting for her turn to come, her turn to recoil under the weight of her father’s fingers, alone in the dark, a girl who then learned to hide, to become invisible, to disappear.

Disappearing and trumpeting your existence are antithetical notions, so I will need to adopt a few different personae to get my way across the world stage of writing.

It might well be fun but it’s also a little scary. Enough to slow my heart.

14 thoughts on “Good news at last”

  1. Oh, Elisabeth. Will I be the first to congratulate you on the publishing news? Huge congratulations. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to have a work so recognised.
    When you said it had started back in 1995, that made me realise that I will never have anything published (if I was to write anything, that is) as I don’t think I would ever be finished. The temptation to read something just one more time and change a word, or a line, or a paragraph, or a chapter! I have these agonies already just leaving a comment.
    Hip, hip, Hooray for you!

    1. I thought I’d responded to you earlier, Karen. I’m sure I did but somehow my reply got swallowed up in the ether. I reckon you might write yourself and not worry about what happens to the writing once you’ve written it, largely because it’s the process that matters first and foremost. Publication is the icing on top. Thank you again, Karen, for all your encouragement and support.

    1. Of all people, Louise , you know what a tough journey it’s been, not unlike your own, though longer and maybe as memoir sort of closer to the bone, though I’m not so sure about that even as I write, given most memoir is fiction at a level and most fiction bears enormous emotional truth that can only come from an autobiographical self. Thanks for your wonderful encouragement.

    1. A low heart rate might be a good thing, Christina but I’d hate for it to conk out altogether at least not yet. Thanks for all your encouragement and support.

  2. I had a look through Interactive Publications’ nonfiction section and there were a few Australian memoirs there. They don’t say much about the books which I found disappointing and I’m not sure I’d buy any book based on a synopsis one or two sentences long but that’s where traditional bookshops excel. It’s been a while coming. I’m pleased for you.

    I do understand why after all this you’d feel reluctant to shout your news from the rooftop. You’re there, it’s what you wanted but now it’s over, it’s done. Now people get to read it. And what if they don’t like it? What if no one buys it? Luckily memoirs are more popular now than they’ve ever been—I’ve been reading quite a bit about autobiographies of late—and it’s not just books about the rich and famous but it doesn’t hurt your sales if you do happen to be rich and famous.

    I’ve not met many famous people in my life but the few I have have been ever so ordinary. And I’ve gained comfort in that. It puts fame in its place. I’m not saying success should be celebrated—we need to celebrate everything we can these days—but at the end of the day Stephen King writes his books one word at a time the same as you and me.

    I read up on bradycardia. All new to me but the website does say that men and women age sixty-five and older are most likely to develop a slow heart rate that needs treatment so it might be worth pressing your GP. This isn’t happening for no reason and it is your heart we’re talking about.

    1. Thanks Jim. On two counts, the pleasure that my book has finally made it – sort of. And as you say the rest is to come. As for my heart, my uncle sent me an email today. My cousin, his son, must have read this blog post and told my uncle about my concern at my low heart rate. My uncle emailed to reassure me that it’s familial. Five of his six siblings suffered from it, including my mother, and they all made it into their eighties and in some cases beyond. After that it went downhill he reminds me, but he tells me not to worry too much. Still I’ll check it out again with my GP when next I see her in a couple of weeks time.

  3. I am quietly glad that your beautiful writing will get a wider audience. I look forward to it and congratulate you for moving forward! Hurray! I imagine it IS more sobering than exciting, though, and I appreciate your reticence. But still — congratulations!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. I just found this message in amidst over one hundred spam comments that I just trawled through and deleted to find the gold. And yes, it’s sobering indeed. Thank you.

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