This is very funny, considering the previous blog was about the dilemma of whether to speak out or not. I have well and truly spoken out this time!
What an incredible day. As an astrologer and total star-gazing junkie (although my astronomy is rubbish) I was very excitable about the eclipse yesterday morning. I knew that we wouldn’t have a total eclipse, but partial is still good. What we hadn’t bargained for – and really should have taken into account – is that mornings by the coast are usually misty, and then we also had to factor in a huge dollop of smog, courtesy of Europe. Matthew (younger son) was up bright and early and Ben (older son) joined us in time to check the skies for the big event and ascertain that we weren’t going to see anything much. We decided to decamp down to the beach and join all the other sky-watchers waiting for nothing to happen. And indeed nothing did happen because the mist was so heavy that nothing changed at all and there was absolutely no indication of where the sun should be even if it hadn’t been partially-eclipsed. I think the birds carried on singing because they couldn’t see that the light hadn’t gone – if you see what I mean. Back in 1999 I was lucky enough to be at the AA Conference in Plymouth for the total eclipse, and the atmosphere was amazing. Sadly there was no atmosphere on this morning, just a load of cold people saying, “It must have happened by now. Can we go home yet?” There must have been a lot of people who regretted buying those special glasses… But I saw from friends on FB that there were some areas of clear sky across other parts of the UK and I am so pleased they at least got to see something. Not envious in the slightest.
An eclipse, from an astrological point of view, can be regarded as a new beginning and a chance to let go of old patterns that have passed their sell-by date. This was a solar eclipse, where the Moon (the mind, emotions and intuition) blots out the Sun (the ego, the power and motivation of our personalities), so combined with the fact that this was a Supermoon and both planets were at the end of Pisces, I was interested to see how the day would unfold, especially on an emotional level. What happened immediately after the eclipse is that both sons said they felt something had been released, and they felt much lighter. A few hours later the grey skies cleared and we were blessed with bright sunshine – beautiful symbolism for the vernal equinox.
It has been a very strange week; I had deliberately held back on several work projects as I want to start them with the Sun in Aries and Moon in Taurus on Monday, and so unwittingly freed up some time on Thursday and Friday. Which was just as well as things have suddenly taken off with my own book – which just in case you have been living in a cave is called ‘Under Cover of Darkness: How I Blogged My Way Through Mantle Cell Lymphoma”. The marketing machine has swung into action and all of a sudden I have found myself being booked for radio interviews, which was initially a very scary thought. Writing in one thing, but talking about it all? That is a very different thing. I said “Yes” to everything on the basis that I would eventually get used to speaking on the radio and being interviewed, but deep down I still find it hard to believe that people want to read about my experience, let alone listen to an interview with me.
This week has not been without its technical challenges, one of which was co-ordinating exactly how I was supposed to get on air on Thursday night with a US radio station didn’t make international calls. “Skype!” I hear you cry. Yep – that all sounded easy. I found the radio station, listened for a while to get an idea of what the interviewer was like, then as my allotted time drew close I hit the Skype button, expecting it all to spring into life and that I would be connected to the station. Nope. “Use Skype with Facebook”. OK – clicked the link to FB which took me to the home page to log in. I never log in to FB – I use the App on both my phone and the iPad – so I had no idea what the password was, and I couldn’t access the station from within Skype itself. I tried all the likely password suspects, none of which worked, then had the bright idea of looking in my address book in case I had written it in there. Result! Typed in that one, and I still couldn’t get in. By this stage I was 3 minutes away from being on air and I could hear Michael Dresser winding up the interview before me in preparation for speaking to – me! Aaaargh. Fortunately I had the land line number ready just in case this happened, but as I hit the phone keys with panicky fingers I got the engaged tone. Nooooooo! Fortunately after two more attempts I managed to get through just in time for the music to finish and for him to introduce me.
Wow. That was close.
The annoying thing was that I had spent quite a while chanting to calm my nerves and was feeling fairly relaxed about the interview, but I ended up going on air with a thumping heart and a wobbly voice. Oh well, at least I did it. And I realised what several people have already told me: that the interviewer wasn’t out to trap me or catch me out as if I was a politician, he really was interested in the book and me (or at least put on a good show of it) and I really warmed to my theme after a few minutes. The station very sweetly sent me the file the following morning, which I discovered when we got to the office after the eclipse. That was a pleasant surprise and it was nice to be able to listen to it back and learn what I can improve on for next time. I was really worried that my voice would sound flat (which is how it sounded to me when I was on air) but I was relieved to hear some passion and enthusiasm come through. Matthew made the file into something suitable for Youtube so I could upload it, and here is the result.
At about the same time as Matthew was working on the sound clip I started getting messages that Amazon.co.uk had started to ship the back orders for my book. The release date is supposed to be 24th April, but being a publisher myself I know that Amazon are a law unto themselves, so I just thought, brilliant! I’ll get on FB and announce it. That was really exciting as I had some lovely messages back. The file came back from Matthew and I excitedly loaded it onto Youtube – and shared it on FB. At this stage I was getting a bit embarrassed at all the shameless self-promotion, but there was a side of me that was really enjoying the energy of the moment. Post-eclipse I was feeling like a new ‘me’ had come into being and it was lovely.
I had just a few minutes to enjoy some of the feedback from the radio clip when the Virgin Media man arrived to upgrade our internet connection. Oh no. I knew he was coming as I had booked the job, but I hadn’t expected to be in the middle of my own media frenzy at the time. Everything ground to a halt. Ho hum – back to the day job then. For the next few hours I was completely cut off from whatever was going on online, which was probably a good thing as even I needed a break from my own publicity, let alone all the people on the receiving end :-).
The internet finally reincarnated in a much speedier form and I got back online to see that as a result of my excited efforts there had been a lot more visitors to my blog. Which I haven’t actually updated for ages. Oooh dear. There have been many blog-worthy moments in the last month or so but I don’t seem to have got around to writing about them. Like worrying about Dot’s reaction to her role in my book. I found out – also in the last couple of days – that she is really happy about it, which is a great relief. I realised when I went back to make the blogs into book form that I had initially been quite harsh on some people. That was indeed the way it felt at the time, but it wasn’t something I wanted to portray in the book; the blogs were a moment-by-moment account of my experiences, and of course I had no way of knowing how those relationships would mature. I hope she likes what I said about her in the later parts of the book: Dot stands out as one of the people I always looked forward to seeing in the mornings, a sort-of-calm port in the storm of changing faces and hospital routine. Funny how things change, isn’t it?
I have also been able to offer support to more people, through friends of friends, who are having bad times with chemo. Just odd tips – obviously the Vitamin A – that can do so much to alleviate the discomfort, and the knowledge that they aren’t alone. What I think came across really loud and clear in the Michael Dresser interview, and the comment I ended up with, was that people don’t have to suffer as much as they do with the chemo; some of us don’t have the choice of completely abandoning what is acknowledged to be a barbaric treatment in favour of other therapies, so my mission is to show that if we can embrace both conventional medicine and complementary therapies we can have a better outcome. And isn’t that what it is all about? I think I might have found my ‘angle’ for future interviews.
The day ended on a deliciously decadent and Piscean note. I had been holding off any idea of a book launch, however small, until the book was readily available, so when it transpired that Amazon.co.uk had released it (sorry .com people, it doesn’t seem to have happened for you yet), I figured a celebration was in order. Who better to share it with than our lovely friends Lyn and John? Drinking bubbly in the late afternoon with good friends is decidedly decadent, but we loved every minute and it was the perfect end to what had turned into a really nice day.
Sending you warm Spring wishes as the Sun goes into Aries,