Monday, October 06, 2008

Doing your bit

Have done a couple of speaking engagements - a small book festival where I spoke after a very nice man called Nobby, and a luncheon for a local hospice trust. After the book came out, I volunteered to do a reading for the cancer charity if they wanted me to and when they came back to me, they wanted me to speak at a lunch. Speaking after lunch means sitting through the meal too nervous to eat and unable to even have a glass of wine incase you start slurring your words and get a reputation as a lush. The reading went OK, but the chairman made me laugh because when I had finished taking questions, he told the 77-strong audience that 2% of men would think I was great and 98% would run a mile. He also used the word "granite" to describe me. He said some nice stuff too, but for some reason the compliment train went straight through my brain without stopping. It took me a few minutes to realise he must have read my recent blog-rant, in which case he had probably sat through my own introductory words, reading and subsequent Q and A, waiting for me to say "fuck" infront of all the nice hospice friends and kindly donors. The organiser told me later that the lunch made £1,224.35. The only problem (apart from the revelation I am the polar opposite of catnip to men) was that I picked up a five-day migraine driving home. I blame a combination of acute nervous anxiety prior to the "event" and my mother's "outfit" - more particularly, the gold sequined scarf which she had draped stylishly across her shoulders. Unusually, it was a sunny day, and driving back across the autumnal moors - my mother sitting in the front passenger seat complete with scarf - gold spangles tattoed the sunvisor, the windscreen glass, and apparently the inside of my skull.

Also appearing on the newsstands this month is a desperately depressing article on stillbirth I wrote for Marie Claire.(Do not read this without a large brandy in hand - damn the neighbours thinking you are a lush. You are a lush. Embrace your fate.) The magazine kindly agreed to donate the £1,000 fee to a pregnancy research charity. That makes over £2,200 for charity this week. I rarely allow myself a feeling of achievement - I am far too superstitious and dark a creature. But courtesy of the fact speaking is an ordeal, and writing the article left me wrung out for a week afterwards, (and despite the pain-wracked distraction of someone attempting to file the sharp edges off my eyeballs), I allowed myself the suspicion that actually, this week anyway, I did alright.

50 comments:

Heather Bestel said...

If ever there was a time to allow yourself the feeling of achievement, it is now. Not only for raising such an amount for charity, but for the standing up and speaking in front of a room full of people. That is the really scary part.
I have had clients that are professional performers who admit to still throwing up before a show after ten years. I have spent the last 15 years speaking at conferences around the country and even though I have all the calming techniques at my fingertips, I still feel the anxiety rising as my moment in the spotlight draws near.

andypandy said...

Well done you!

I would certainly say that you had a successful week. Success can come in many forms - helping others is definitely one of them.

Speaking of success, I found a job this week - hurray! I'm not blowing my own trumpet, as I was probably the only applicant,
(but if my husband asks, there were hundreds of hopefuls and I was head hunted!) Yes I'm going to leave the VILLAGE on a daily basis - have you seen that film?

Thanks for the great blog and keep up the good work.

dottie said...

You did.
You have an acutely accurate way of describing a migraine. I shall beware of sitting beside anyone with a spangly anything, in case it sets me off again...

Alice3 said...

Well done!
Your rant caused me to draw a sharp intake of breath, but what the hey, it's done!
I loved your book, which has now been passed on to my daughter and her friend (poor new Mums).
Sorry about the migraine -autumnal light causes it I think. Not perimenopausal are you?:-)
Scrap Woman's worst trait. Guilt! You've worked for it, so enjoy the good things!

Adventure Mother said...

I think you should feel extremely proud of yourself. Raising that amount for charity in one week is no mean feat. No wonder you had a migraine. Well done!

Mrs Be said...

You most definitely have done alright. How wonderful that you've used your success to help others through your speaking and article (which I might skip reading though!).

Feel for you on the migraine front, hope you're feeling better.

Mrs Be (who thinks she's had a successful day if the washing machine and dishwasher goes on once....)

Potty Mummy said...

You did great. And why is it we can never remember the compliments, only the less flattering comments. EG, 'could do better..' Whatever happened to all those 'PM is a kind girl, who works hard on her maths problems'? Oh yes. I remember. There weren't any of those...

Pam said...

Well done, Judith!

I read somewhere that ten compliments tend to weigh about the same as one criticism, in our heads. I don't intend to post this comment ten times, but I hope you get another nine like it, and then some....

Swearing Mother said...

Good stuff, and well done for not saying "fuck".

It's hard not to, I know.

occasional northerner said...

Good job! Hope head is feeling better.

rosiero said...

Well done on the speech. You sound as if you managed very well. I hated public speaking when I used to have to do it and , like you, couldn't eat a thing at any business lunch before I had to do it. Sorry about the migraine, too. Mine gets set off by people wearing perfume - the fragrance hits my nostrils and settles in my sinuses before attacking my brain. Within minutes I have a headache and within an hour I have a migraine. Like with the spangly scarf, people just don't realise.

Hilary said...

Here's the tenth compliment-well done,you are very brave!

Hilary said...

Aaagh,that was only the ninth! Oh well,here's the tenth-well done!

Arcadian Advocate said...

Do you find writing easier than interviews?
I certainly do but I have never yet turned down an invitation to stand up and promote farming and rural issues even if I have to get up at 4am!
Hope the migraine has settled, I've read that magnesium oil is meant to be brilliant as a preventative but I have no personal experience to draw on.
very well done for the charitable funds, makes my efforts for the local church seem very low key. http://arcadianadvocate.wordpress.com

Miriam said...

One more, now only 8 to go. Wel, well, well done. Many people in your shoes (or head) would be "too busy" to do the talk or the article. You've also done one more good deed, in that those who read your article will, no doubt,benefit too. Take a bow! Mimi

Le @ Third on the Right said...

Bravo - you did more than all right ... and if to give is to rceive then you should be getting some right now ...

On a different note I have been following a blog by a mum who's wee one was born sleeping - for me as a mother of two well born sons it is a rollercoster of a read and offers me a depth of understanding - she shows such strength amongst the pain - she can be found at http://http//scarletriver26.blogspot.com/

Hope your head is better - le

Jeff said...

Count me in that 2 percent...

DogLover said...

"You done good, buddy boy"!

[Being so sophisticated and cultured an' all, you'll recognise the quote from West Side Story]

I get migraines, too - but be envious everyone - they only affect my eyesight and I don't get any headache!

Mom/Mum said...

very well done you!

womagwriter said...

Well done, on both counts.

I used to go out with a bloke called Nobby.

Stinking Billy said...

Nice one, Judith. I was beginning to wonder when you hadn't posted for two weeks whether you had chucked blogging, but I'm feeling better again already. ;-)

Mother/Lover/Breadwinner said...

I think nerves and migraines are understandable.

I'd just like to say I have dipped into your blog a fair bit, and I took your book on holiday to France with me. I read it in a day! It made me laugh out loud, cringe and swear. I also gave it to my mother who didn't enjoy it half as much because your lifestyle is 'chaotic' and there's no excuse for running out of petrol so often! Just thought I'd share.

Benny said...

in case in front - two separate words in both cases

wife in the north said...

re sensibilia, I appear to have deleted your comment by mistake - which may be no bad thing. Post it again and I will try not to delete. Alternatively, tell your husband he is lucky to have sex at all.

cheshire wife said...

Quite an achievement raising £2,00 in one week. I think you have more than done your bit.

mutleythedog said...

Bliey wifey! I have spoken at lunches in a.n.other hat and at dinners as well (human rights thingey). Its a giant pain in the ass. No one like it. At least you made a bunch of cash for your lot.

Working mum said...

Yes, a pat on the back is deserved for raising money and for speaking in front of people.

I've just finished reading your book, even though I've been reading your blog for ages, and I felt moved to comment. It was poignant, heartfelt and very well written. I've recommended it to my colleagues who are all book junkies like me.

Just thought I'd say!

sally said...

I'm impressed talking in public very scary, but you came out unscathed,sit down and have a large glass of wine.I have just started uni and have to introduce myself it seems daily to my tutors and class mates,so far have said something completely different every time,they now think I'm the nut with multi personalities, but hay ho.. Loved the book fab, have passed it on to my stressed out daughter, to give her hope that she's not the only mum struggling with kids husband etc. Keep on blogging .. Sally

sparky said...

I dip in here every now and again -you make me laugh, today it was the brain lapse/compliments.

Not having posted before I felt moved to as I would like to say thank you. My mother 'used' the hospice in the last months of her life (1999/2000 - when it first opened?) and odd as it may sound it was a lifeline for her.

Braja said...

Judith, love your blog...I could name mine Wife In India and we could meet for coffee, if only I could find a place that made decent coffee...instead, I've called it Lost and Found in India, and hope you find it amusing:
http://lostandfoundinindia.blogspot.com/

Rose&Thorn said...

I am so glad I found your blog, it is great and I can't wait to find your book here in South Africa. Well done on the achievement.. you deserve to bask in all the glory that comes your way

Benny said...

in front - two words. Can't help being pedantic. I like reading your stuff but that keeps irritating me.

elizabethj said...

I hope your migraine has subsided by now and has been replaced instead by that warm glow of deliciousness that follows a job well done!
I am writing this wearing a green sequinned scarf to pay homage to your mum
Thank you for writing with such honesty and sensitivity

snailbeachshepherdess said...

Well done you - could no more stand up and speak to a crowd than stick needles in my eyes. Your book is somewhere on its way through Canada now - much read and enjoyed...when's the next?

mutleythedog said...

I trust you have fled the country?

Liz Yonge said...

Hi Judith

I wanted to write to tell you I've just read your story in Marie Claire. I sat in a packed commuter train on Tuesday morning and wept all the way up to London. I cannot imagine the pain of losing your beautiful little boy, of holding him for such a brief time and imagining what might have been. I hope I never experience that sense of loss. Thank you for sharing your story and I'm sorry you've suffered so greatly.

Liz xx

Little Me said...

Hi,
I'm almost at the end of your fabulous book.Being a rural northern expat in France I just wanted to say that I have laughed (out loud on the bus to work), cried (on the bus to work), and admired your wonderful writing.
Thank you for you book and now your blog which I am discovering. They are both divine to read. Good luck with any future writing/speaking/child raising/ horse riding activities...

family affairs said...

A highly successful week I should say Lx

Miss Daisy Frost said...

your agent is a great guy and I was very sorry not to get to Frankfurt in time for the annual Conville and Walsh lapdancing jamboree. I love your site and wish you all the success in the North (and world) with the t.v series. If you want to read what happened when I tried to get to the Frankfurt Book Fair do look at my blog www.missdaisyfrost.com
I too am an agent but not as famous or as sexy as yours!

sparky said...

Has someone locked you up in Brizlee Tower? Missing my blog boost! Hope you and yours all well. bws.

hexe said...

Congrats on the speaking engagement and sorry about the migrane. Hubby here gets them too and they are awful.

Just wanted to tell you that I bought your book on vacation in Milan. I was on holiday with my mother as an escape from the kids. We laughed us ourselves to tears reading your book aloud. Thank you for the enjoyment and for expressing so well the life and sacrifice of a parent and wife.

SueBee said...

I hope we can hear from you again soon!

Swearing Mother said...

Oi, Judith, where the hell are you?

northalli said...

Hi. I was in the hairdressers yesterday and picked up 'Marie Claire'! What a fool i looked, with tears running down my face! I just had to thank you for your article on Stillbirth. It was almost like reading my own story. 15 years ago i went into labour 7 days before my due date. My daughter got into difficulty during labour, I had an emergency C Section, unfortunately Jessica died aged 1 hour 40 minutes, she appeared a normal 7lb 3oz baby! Again, like you, i kept Jess with me, for 3 days (most think this quite morose) yet i needed that time with her. I took a clip of her hair and inky footprints, and when i left the hospital, i had to leave via the rear fire exit as i could not bring myself to walk out the front door, amongst other mothers with healthy babies! We too were given no reason for her death, "Act of God' was how our consultant explained it! Like you, i gave birth to a healthy son 13 month after Jessica and went on to have a healthy daughter. When i think that Alix is 14, i automatically think, Jess will be 15, and the worst thing for me is a feel i am disrespecting her because when people ask how many children i have, i reply 2, yet i think 3. I know you commented on this too! I too believe that this point in my life changed how i am, I know i am a very protective mother, it drives my children wild! I really want to thank you for writing this article and highlighting this issue. So many people cross the road rather than talk to a friend who has gone through sorrow like this. Me, and my husband and children, talk often of Jessica, she still is a part of our family, and we always celebrate her birthdays, to keep her memory alive. Thanks Again.

Lulda Casadaga said...

I enjoy reading your blog. And f..k em all if they don't get it.
Good luck with future endeavors. I will put your book on my reading list. I'm a new blogger and this writing thing is becoming addictive!

workthatwardrobe said...

Congratulations on your achievements. I'm a journalist and find that writing about traumatic events that have affected me can make a difference.
I have written about my ectopic pregnancy, my friend's premature death and the difficulties in my marriage (not my real name of course).
I have also used my position of influence to help others including £10,000 for charity from two marathons. Come to think of it, they are still probably my greatest achievements after producing my four children.

Isobel said...

Please come back! You are missed. Hope all is well with you and yours.

Stinking Billy said...

judith, I'm with isobel - all the way. I know, you are busy, busy, busy, but give us all a break, sweetheart?

Spiral Wellies said...

I read your Marie Claire article this morning. A little too early for brandy and also before I had read the warning in your blog.

Beautifully written, full of pathos. And thank you for reminding me not to forget my friends who have gone through similar sadness, however long ago that was.

Bravery in front of an audience doesn't go halfway to the level of bravery it must have taken to address these emotions in an article.

Yaya said...

Hi Judith,
I love your blog, working my way through your archives at the moment. I need to look fro your book next time I am in Waterstones.
p.s- I don't think your blog can be described as a lonely journey anymore!