Newsletter no.124 April 2018

The saga of the milk bottles continues. First we had the same problem as before – that the empties were taken but no delivery made. We have to assume that someone pinched them, oh dear! And then, the milkman says I didn’t leave a cheque for him last month. But I did. What’s going on? I mean, surely whoever took my milk wouldn’t want my cheque as well, would he? Perhaps the milkman has mislaid it? Letters and notes fly backward and forwards … let’s hope he doesn’t cut me off completely. I really don’t want to have to carry milk back from the shops. And don’t tell me I can load it into my car because … now don’t laugh, because this is serious! … I don’t drive!!!

The next Bea Abbot is still coming along nicely, but just as I got to a really tense bit in which Bea feels so threatened that she very nearly gives up the case she’s working on, I have had to interrupt my work on it to do some PR for the American website of Trish Perry, who likes to feature my work every now and then, and the copy editing of the next Ellie Quicke. This copy editing is work which requires intense concentration. If I have two spaces instead of one between words, a neat little red line appears on the manuscript. Then, I have a blind spot about hyphenating some ordinary words, and I have never yet been able to remember for long that the ‘s’ in words like ‘realise’ should be rendered with a ‘z’ as in ‘realize’. I’ve only been working for Severn House for sixteen years, so why is it that I cannot remember this? I will have to put a Post It note on my computer screen featuring a large ‘Z’ in future. Maybe that will work.

And then, of course, there was the short story for the Methodist Recorder. You may remember I wanted to make this a story about forgiveness, and I had a real struggle to get the balance right. My first effort was short on the problems facing people who have been wronged, so I re-wrote it to get that right. Then I realized – oh dear! – that I’d got the action in the wrong place, so I had to do some switching round to get it right. Finally, I think I have the balance right … action leads to discussion, but not too much of it. Along the way I have talked to a lot of people about their understanding of forgiveness and our minister gave me an answer which I hadn’t heard before. She said that if someone keeps doing something wrong, over and over again, you say you still love them but that there will be consequences to their wrong-doing. I really like that.

The re-written story, CAN YOU FORGIVE? will be out at Easter. The usual arrangement applies; if you’d like to have it and can’t get hold of a hard copy yourselves, I’ll send you a copy free by email a few days later.

STOP PRESS; a problem with my computer! The file for the next Bea Abbot has corrupted itself and I hadn’t backed up since February! Fortunately I have all my notes for the chapters I’ve lost, and I have time enough to rewrite, but … Oh dear!!! My computer guru couldn’t find out why it happened and is going to fit an automatic back-up, but what a business!

Finally; may the message of Easter renew joy and hope in our lives.

Veronica Heley