Sometimes, with writing, it takes will power and the knowledge that with a little bit of time, and starting over and over, something will eventually come of it. I have discovered that it is the same with any creative craft – take Strictly Come Dancing for instance, one week you can be reasonably good, and then the next you simply suck and Bruno and Len are rolling their eyes dramatically.
If you are aged 8 and are full of cold, and face this mental dilemma, it can be the pits. Little Man insisted on going to the last panto rehearsals which were 4 hours long due to skipping one weekend for half term, and I warned the head chaperone Caz that he was a little under the weather. He had learned his songs, but had that fuzzy echoey head that you have with a cold, and he looked a little weary, if determined. ‘Are you going to be all right?’ both Caz and I asked him, and he nodded gingerly.
I mooched around Fleet for an hour, expecting a call, and then drove home. Just as I pulled into the drive the phone rang – could I come and collect him… He really wasn’t feeling very well and looked a bit green when I arrived. Of course it turned out that he had a sicky bug and then I felt like a terrible mum for sending him there in the first place (you really can’t win as a parent), but as we sat and cuddled on the sofa I felt very proud of him for his perseverance that day.
We wondered how to make it up to him, and G with a flourish, produced a tatty old copy of the film Billy Elliott. This we all thought was a great idea, as it was about a young boy who was passionate about dancing, it would be a first for Monty, we hadn’t seen it for years, and Layton Williams (the cat in the pantomime) had played the role in the West End. It ticked all the boxes for a night in.
I remember once taking my elderly aunt to watch Look Who’s Talking when it first came out. For those of you who have never seen it, or need reminding, the first five minutes feature a couple rolling around in ecstasy and then cuts to a talking sperm on the race to meet an egg. My aunt and I stared straight ahead at the screen, I was wondering if the heating had gone on suddenly, she was in shock. I had a déjà vu feeling when watching the opening scene in Bridesmaids with my mother-in-law, and now here we were, in the same situation, with Little Man. On screen there was F-ing and Blinding like no tomorrow, Little Man’s eyes were like saucers, and G and I couldn’t look at one another and stared straight ahead, willing the TV to explode or there to be a power cut.
We had done such a good sales job on the film, but had forgotten the extent of the bad language. But there is no doubt that it is a brilliant storyline and soon the swearing became irrelevant as we all got lost in the tenderness of the writing and joys of Billy’s extraordinary achievements.
The credits rolled, and Little Man’s eyes were lightly sparkling with tears. ‘Did you enjoy it?’ I asked.
‘It was f****** brilliant Mam!’ he answered perkily in an appropriate accent.
I may have a bit of explaining to do at school…