I haven't yet held it in my hands but it's been printed, bound and shipped to Perera Hussein Publishing House! Yes, the sequel to Mythil's Secret is really happening!
How do I feel? Ecstatic. Nervous. Happy. Stressed out!
Mythil's Secret took eight years to write, edit and publish. The sequel took two because Mythil's Secret was written while I was working full time and the sequel after I resigned and before my second daughter was born.
Is it any good? That's the nail-biting question. That's what's stressing me out. I think it's good. But obviously I don't count right? I'm the author so I am biased. The people who read it in manuscript form have largely liked it and some have even said it's better than the first... but... urrrr... I'll have to wait and see.
Waiting is terrible. [Bite-bite-bite nails and spit.]
It's weird how your life changes when you become a mother who opts to stay at home and give up her day job. The well meaning questions you get asked range from 'So what do you do all day?' to... well... to no questions at all from people you used to know in your old life but who've moved on.
When I've been asked what I do all day these past so many months I've been able to say that I've been writing my second book. But that's a cop out really. Staying at home to look after your child or children is a full time job. I could only write because my own mum took up baby-sitting duties. "Behind every successful woman is another woman looking after her children!" That was a line from the 300 page bi-lingual manuscript titled 'Cast as Mother' which had us all in stitches of laughter last evening but which struck such a chord with many - certainly with me. And that too was just one line from many that rang so true.
The play, which will be on the boards in September, was preceded last night by a series of readings and skits that showed how this manuscript came to be. Thirteen women who either gave up or still struggle with their careers on the stage as they strive to be good mothers wrote about their experiences in a set of fourteen exercises over a period of a year and a half. The result - a rich reservoir of stories that are poignant and strikingly honest.
The essence for me was how in this so called enlightened age becoming a stay-at-home mother can be such a life-changing experience - a culture shock even. For instance in your old life you may have been a highly qualified woman holding down a high-pressure job that earned you a certain degree of respect and power in your social circles. But become a stay-at-home mum and suddenly the people you interact with - from nursery school principals to pediatricians to some old friends - make you feel like you've had part of your brain removed and need to take in things nice and slow or be told things on a need-to-know basis only.
Last night's readings from 'Cast as Mother' were a delicious and unapologetic romp into the world of motherhood - with the audience laughing their way through some of the most traumatic, pressing and embarrassing issues that mums face. That it was not self-indulgent as it could so easily could have been was a tribute to this brilliant team of writers and the actors who brought their stories to life.
Roll on September! I can't wait to see the complete production!
I had a thoroughly enjoyable morning with some amazingly creative girls this weekend. We looked at narrative techniques, character and plot... when we weren't laughing our heads off at the outlandish story outlines that were being workshopped!
One thing that made everyone sit up and think was what to put on an imaginary bookshelf labelled 'Sri Lankan adventure stories (in English) for children'. Madol Duwa... yes, but that was first published in 1947 in Sinhala. What else? Hmmmm...
As I had hoped some of the girls have now decided to fill up our imaginary bookshelf with their own stories. I can't wait to see the results! Let's wish them luck!
A friend of mine had a nasty experience recently. She was watching her toddler in a toddler's swimming class rather anxiously because this time there was a rather boisterous little boy who had joined the lesson. The boy's mother sat next to her laughing at how her son never listens to anyone.
The instructor put the kids on a float and for some reason dived underwater. In that moment the boisterous little boy bounced on the float sending my friend's child and another flying into the water. The instructor came up, saw the kids in the water, grabbed one of the children put him on the float and then went for my friend's child who was still underwater.
By that time my friend was at the pool. Soothing her obviously terrified child she thought she had never been so happy to hear him cry.
As if this experience wasn't bad enough she was joined in the changing room by the boisterous child's mum who laughed at the incident and said that my friend should teach her son to hang on tighter! My friend who had already obviously had a huge shock turned around and said that maybe she should teach her son to listen to instructions.
Immediately the other woman started loudly accusing my friend of blaming a toddler for what happened - which was not what she had said. She followed my friend right out of the changing rooms making a huge scene. None of the other parents stood up for my friend or even said a word to her but they all patted her son and told him to come back again. My friend just fled to have a good cry and get over the shock of it all.
I think the other woman felt guilty about everything and to stop any accusations coming her way deliberately provoked a (rather one-sided) fight. It's the typical strategy of a bully. Make bystanders feel either too intimidated to get involved or coerce them into siding with the bully. Fortunately the other parents did not side with her. But their inaction made my friend feel isolated and miserable.
I am not sure I would have been brave enough to speak up if I had seen this happening to a stranger. What would you have done?