The Diary of Leigh Mathers Aged 40½

We are way more than halfway through the calendar year now, of course, but August is traditionally a time of reflection for me, falling as it does midway between my birthdays.  This year, being my 40th, is particularly poignant.

I have to date accomplished 28 of my 40 things (see list here if you need a refresher:  The most recent was a vineyard tour last night, at the gorgeous Buzzards Valley (we are truly fortunate to have such a spot on our doorstep).  I watched my 39th movie today, The Godfather Part 2.  Only the third part of the trilogy to go now.

I will not achieve my full quota of 40 things in 2017, I’m afraid to say, since my attempt to have a song request read out by Paul O’Grady on the occasion of our 10th wedding anniversary failed.

Whilst my aim is to tick as many items off my list as possible this year, those I do not will be ‘carried over’ into 2018.  I suppose that’s classed as bending the rules – but, hey, they’re my rules!

One mission I am sheepishly conscious I have been postponing is the self-publishing of my most recent completed novel, The Four Matthews (and eventually Majella Bracebridge, my current work in progress).  I knew I would put this task off, just as I left the Godfather trilogy until last, knowing those would boast the most hard-going plots of all my 40 films, twisting and blasting way beyond my musical/rom com-filled comfort zone.

This is tricky to admit, but the truth is I am more than a little apprehensive about self-publishing and laying myself open to a potential online slating.  Yes, we writers can be sensitive folks; our craft is highly personal; our toiled-over words not easy to share with anyone beyond our own close circle of decidedly uncritical critics (AKA friends and family).

I can’t not write.  It’s in my blood, for a start.  My dear departed granny wrote incessantly, and my mum possesses a natural aptitude with words, even though she herself maintains she lacks the talent or inclination to pursue the art in the way I have done.  My pen is forever flowing across the pages of my cherished, dog-eared notebook.  It’s a constant drill, the aim being to achieve greater fluency.  Writing is such a lovely escapist hobby.

Whilst I’m being frank, I confess I find these blogs quite delicate to construct.  I’ve kept a diary since I was 15 (a – gulp! – quarter of a century), but of course those entries are never shared publically.  Hence the concept of a “public diary” is alien and inhibiting.  Hence these blogs are not churned out as prolifically as they could be.

I will self-publish someday.  I must crash through my inhibitions.  After all, I have flown a plane this year.  Anything else ought to be a breeze.


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