Whether you are Doctor Who and engaged in time travelling adventures or just a plain, earth bound foot soldier like me, the places we end up spending time at are not chosen at random or even by our own “free will”.
Life is a journey, somebody once said, and the places and people we come across along the way are not thrown into our path by accident. Our lives go through several stages and at each stage we find ourselves exactly where we are meant to be with the kind of people we are supposed to be with at that precise moment in time.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my brush with cancer, it is that all things happen for a reason. If I hadn’t been diagnosed with cancer, I wouldn’t have quit my boring job and become a full time writer. If I hadn’t moved to Wales, I would never have met the real Willow and her Mum, both of whom I regard as the granddaughter and daughter I’ve longed to have all my adult life. If I didn’t blog on WordPress, I’d never have “met” my virtual and very real friend Michelle Barber (author of Will Blyton and the Stinking Shadow; proud owner of Mildred the Cat, dominatrix at the LoonyLiterature Laboratory)
I’ve lived at many different places, which prior to cancer I regarded as insignificant stop overs. It wasn’t until I got to Cardiff – and later to Leipzig – that I felt a sense of home coming. Our homes are so important to us that they gives us roots to settle down and be content as well as wings to spread and fly off into the world, because the happiness we experienced in our homes gave us the confidence to brave the unknown.
Be there dragons, pirates, sea monsters or mischievous fairies, having our roots hooked firmly into a place that anchors us physically and emotionally gives us strength to cope with whatever might come along. When we lack happiness at home, we feel lost, emotionally and quite literally, unable to settle anywhere for long.
I have come to believe that we “choose” the places and people we come across our life journey not by accident, but by instinct. Somehow deep down inside of us we know that we are very much at the right place at the right time. Stevie Brown and Hamish Fensterlein might be hunting for run-away houses, but deep down they know where their true home lies. Giles Gimingham grew up on the streets but has found his home on the sea, as cabin boy on the ship The Good Intent. Willow the Vampire felt unhappy, alone and abandoned in London, but instinctively knew that Stinkforthshire’s countryside was going to be her real home. Inspector Beagle and his Sergeant Beanstalk would never consider a transfer away from Kentish Mumsgate – for a start, who’d look after Roddy Winters, their elephantine colleague?
As I’m working my way through the research for my various WIP projects, I am reminded of all the places that I have lived at, all of which are in one way or another contributing to my writing. If some people I’ve met along the way are occasionally recognising their own traits of characters in my protagonists, my apology, but I just can’t help it.
You are as integral to my writing as the places I’ve known so well: my home town Lübeck, the small Baltic seaside resort I grew up in, Guildford, where I was happy, London, where I was so miserable I wanted to die, Ramsgate where I discovered I wanted to live, Cardiff, where I found a home and Leipzig, where I intend to end my long journey for good. I needed you all, even if I didn’t love you all.
(source of animation: heathersanimations.com)