the striped hat…that’s how it starts, isn’t it? With a greeting. Sartorial or not there’s always a greeting at the beginning. And so too here.


I’m Karen. I’m a writer.

It takes a lot of courage to stand up and admit I am a writer. A god (if you prefer); a god of other worlds, a creator of characters, a destroyer of civilizations. That’s how it happens in my head. When it gets to the page it’s a very different thing. I’m more often found panting, puppy-like, dangling at the end of a long piece of string, being tugged in directions I hadn’t even considered.

That’s how it works with me.

You might gasp in horror, “What? No planning!”. You might nod sagely, with a wry grin and scalp tickling eyebrow. You might be thinking “she’ll never get it finished”.

Don’t be fooled. There’s been planning. It’s all up here, and you know where I’m tapping. I’ve been planning this since I was four, maybe earlier.

I didn’t know I was planning, I was just having a laugh, doing my thing, reading books, failing exams, scribbling pages, working to pay the rent then the mortgage the bills the car the food the maintenance the birthdays and christmases…………and that’s where I got distracted.

The planning continued for years, in the background – a sullen teenager or stroppy child or evil monster skulking, dripping shadows all over the floor.

“You’ll have to face me one day,” it said.

I don’t remember when the voice became too loud to ignore. I was having a long lie in when Diana died, I was in a ten-pin bowling alley when the World Trade Center collapsed, I was at the theatre when I found out my sister was pregnant. But I can’t picture the last moment before I owned up to being a writer. And that was the biggie. The mother lode. I’m surprised there wasn’t a parade.

Now I know.

It doesn’t mean the bills get paid quickly. It doesn’t mean there will be dinner on the table or a clean house just because I work from home. It doesn’t mean because I’ve not got a pen in my hand or a keyboard in front of me I’m not writing.

It means I write as I breathe. It’s in every moment. It’s necessary. It’s self-sustaining. It’s a huge leap of faith.

I’m Karen. I’m a writer.

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