I am grateful for many things in my life, but if I have learned anything during the first four months of 2020, it is that the material things in my life matter less. 

Our own home and a car, are things that many of us take for granted, but we have worked hard to get them, and we appreciate having them. 

I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on life over the last few weeks and, without any hesitation, the things I am most grateful for are:

  • the people I’ve met
  • the experiences I’ve shared
  • the animals I love
  • and the travels I have been on 

These are life’s most important things. They have shaped me into the person I am and are the things that I’m truly grateful for.

Photo credit: http://www.livebrum.co.uk

I am grateful to Discover Prompts for prescribing a daily dose of titles for us to keep our writing rhythms going throughout April.  The prompts got me out of my apathetic April frame of mind, a knock-on effect from the March mayhem that kicked off around us. 

I scolded myself for not having pushed myself to blog about each of the Discover Prompts. But the ones I did write about, got me out from under that dense COVID-19 cloud I’d allowed my thoughts to be sucked into, unceremoniously dumping my WIP at the beginning of March 2020. Now, I have my comedic hat back on, and I’m grateful for that.

Excerpt from the Doyenne of Didsbrook © 2020 Tessa Barrie

I was fourteen when my life took an unexpected twist. I became a fully-fledged member of the Didsbrook Amateur Dramatic Society (DADS), having been coerced by my mother to audition for the part of Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz. My Mother had bagged the role of Glenda, the part Edna Fowler had coveted, but managed to contain her disappointment after being cast as the Wicked Witch of the West.

The director of the DADS production of the Wizard of Oz was its founder, Jocelyn Robertshaw. I hadn’t spent any time with Jocelyn since the day she caught us by the trout lake, apart from waving at her from a distance when Daniel and I went swimming at the Manor.

I was on stage, having finished singing my audition piece, Somewhere Over The Rainbow, and I was squinting into the spotlight. I couldn’t work out who was sitting with my mother in the stalls. A woman stood up, clapping enthusiastically, and I recognised the outline of her jodhpurs.

‘Bravo, young lady! Joan Fothergill! You didn’t tell me your daughter sings like a nightingale and can act the socks off the entire DADS membership.  Goodness, how time flies, young lady, the last time I talked to you was by the trout lake, and you were wearing a pair of pink knickers.’ My cheeks turned crimson, and I heard my mother mumble the words, lake, knickers?

‘Lucy, dear, welcome to the fold, welcome to DADS! The part of Dorothy is indisputably yours!’

‘She’s a good writer too, Joc, she’s won some very prestigious competitions,’ my mother chirped.  I think that was my first experience of teenage mortification. How could my mother tell a multi-published author that I’d won a few school writing competitions and make it sound like I’d won the Booker Prize?

‘If she writes as well as she sings and acts, Lucy will be a member of the Didsbrook Authors and Writers Group (DAWG) before she can say, Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore. Thank you, Lucy. We’ll see you at rehearsals on Monday eve. Right! Time to crack on. Who’s up for the part of the cowardly lion? Arthur, darling, where are you? You’re giving it a go, aren’t you?’

It was at that moment that Jocelyn Robertshaw became one of my teenage idols, along with One Direction and the Jonas Brothers. I was in awe of this larger than life local celebrity, who not only founded DADS but DAWG as well. The revered body of local writing talent, and becoming a member of the celebrated DAWG, became one of my fourteen-year-old self’s lifetime writing goals.