WHOA (if that’s a word and how you spell it) – what a month I’ve had and what a month I’ve got coming up.
Firstly, massive thanks to everyone who has pre-ordered my new book – Save me from the Waves. On announcement day you helped push it to No. 319 in the overall Amazon book charts and No. 1 in the mountaineering category. That felt great, and I am very grateful. And if you haven’t pre-ordered yet and want to come to either the live or online launch then it’s not too late! I was so overwhelmed with the number of people who messaged me to say they’d immediately bought it that I’ve decided I just need a bigger venue. Or to continue my sea metaphors (and for those of you who know your Jaws) – a bigger boat! So just drop me an email to let me know you’ve pre-ordered it and I’ll add you to the list.
In other news, next week is World Childless Week (founded by the wonderful Stephanie Phillips) and I’m convening a panel entitled ‘Writers Talk Letters’ – with three people who all have incredible stories to tell. We’ll be talking about the therapeutic power of writing to the people who have hurt us the most. I confess it’s not a subject I’m immediately drawn to. But I’ve realised that my new book is a kind of love letter (to many people and many things), and it recently inspired me to write a real letter which has healed a lot of hurt. And I know that’s a bit cryptic – but come to the event (it’s FREE) to hear more. And don’t come just for me – come for my amazing panellists – Robert Nurden (whose new book I Always Wanted To Be A Dad has been getting loads of publicity); Chris North (who was born intersex and has just had a series of pieces published on the Wellcome Collection’s website and whose life story I believe everyone needs to hear). And finally my dear dear friend Tara Lal – who I always say trumps everyone I know on trauma and terrific-ness – check out her website). She’s featured in all of my books – including my new one – and we’re now in the early stages of co-authoring a book together (watch this space!)
Following on from this, I’m also excited to be the key note speaker at Storyhouse Childless in Chester on Saturday 23 September – where I’ll be talking about the power of adventure to change your life for the better. The team at Storyhouse have put together a fantastic weekend of events and I’m looking forward to being in the company of friends and colleagues who have all made their own waves in the childless community – including Jody Day, Founder of Gateway Women (aka the Beyonce of childlessness who featured in my second book 21 Miles). And Caroline Stafford of the Kitsch Hen bakery who made me a very special biscuit after I came down from Chomolungma / Everest which features in my new book. (And she’s baking for me again in the lead up to its launch…more on that in my next e-newsletter). Also there will be the creators of The Full Stop Podcast (check out my episode with them from last year, and listen out for a new one coming next year). And Helen Louise Jones who leads Our Healing Voice – the Childless Choir who will be performing their beautiful song ‘Calm After The Storm’ live. I’ve been promising to share the link to it on YouTube for a while. You should be pleased to hear I’m not singing (no one needs to hear my voice) but my picture is one of the many childless people featured in the music video.
To be honest along with writing letters to people who’ve hurt me, I’ve never seen myself as a Childless Ambassador (even though I am proud to be an official one for World Childless Week). I’ve done more advocacy work in the field of fertility – trying to help people create the families they dream of because I’ll never stop wishing my own pursuit of motherhood ended differently. However, I have gone on to create a life I wouldn’t change for anything (so there’s a paradox for you!). I’ve decided that September is going to be my annual childless month so I’m delighted to be doing such a fabulous line up of events this year.
But I am also doing an ‘after dinner speech’ for Rolex at the end of the month which I’m super excited about too. They’re launching a new model of watch called The Explorer – and I am going to be their poster girl for it for one night in Greenwich (the iconic home of ‘time’!). One of the greatest things I’ve learnt in life is that it’s possible to be many things. I am Childless. I am an Explorer. I Am Me (with thanks to Keala Settle for putting that sentiment to music so brilliantly). It’s one of my songs of ‘Faith & Survival’ – more on those in my new book which is an adventure story with a difference – from ‘The Streets of London’ (with Ralph McTell) to the ‘Top of the World’ (with The Carpenters). It’s about music as much as it’s about mountains!
And this explorer has been adventuring all over the world this summer – hence the whoa at the beginning (I still don’t know if that’s how you spell it?). I’ve been to Albania, Dubai, Greece and Kent. Check out my Instagram for all the pics and prose – including my 91 year old mum and me swimming in the sea. And tonight I’m heading south on the sleeper to undertake The Scilly Swim Challenge which is organised by my dear friends at Swimquest – creators of the best swimming holidays ever. I’m nervous. I’m not sure I’ve done enough training. In fact, I know I haven’t done enough training (I’ll always be the unlikely (and reluctant) athlete too). But it’s going to be an adventure – and an adventure always changes your life for the better. If you read Save me from the Waves – I hope you’ll see, and agree.
She checks her Rolex. Better dash.
Until next time.