You can keep your Baftas (but I love mine) and your MBE’s (ditto) and all the awards and all the rest of the razzamatazz…. keep your ceremonies and warm champagne and all that stuff…. tonight is the night to remember! Tonight I found a new perspective – it seemed that tonight my story was told, simply because tonight my autobiography was ‘launched’.
Haha! What does that mean? I had no idea what it meant at all.
I’ve never written a book before so I had no knowledge whatsoever about launches. The whole publishing process had felt such a damp squib, a book published in lockdown, unavailable for weeks, confusion about the distribution, opening my own copies all alone, no one to share the moment with, no one to be excited with me, and then…. nothing. I knew there should be a sense of achievement and even fulfilment, but there was nothing. Because the launch was to be online, in a Zoom call, I thought it would be another non-event. How wrong I was!
There, on the screen, were dear dear friends from South Africa, neighbours from across the street and down the road, a friend in America, others in the Netherlands, Norfolk, Hertfordshire, Bristol, London, Yorkshire, Cardiff…. and my own lovely grandchildren….. too many people for one screen so there were two pages of the little thumb print images… dear, lovely faces, some I haven’t met in person for years, friends, colleagues, actors, producers… all of them loved. And the warmth! Oh, man, the warmth and humour. It was just a perfect, wonderful evening. No razzamatazz, just people who wanted to be there, really wanted to be there.
How is it that I’ve ended up here, 71 years old, with friends like these? True friends, dear friends, funny, irreverent, affectionate, bonkers friends.
I thank God for this evening because all good things come from him. My life has come from him. My life belongs to him. And look how he has blessed me!
Writing this autobiography has filled me with surprise and wonder. How is it that this child with such a lousy start in life has had such a great rollicking , rich and ultimately happy life? How is that God has made himself known to me? I mean, me!
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
That’s Psalm 40:2 but it’s my story too. And whoever you are, it can be yours. God has no favourites – we are all loved perfectly and unconditionally and eternally.
To God be the glory, great things he has done! I nicked that from a hymn.
I may not be writing the greatest most sensible blog tonight, but I am writing with the heart and not the head (and slightly under the influence of a couple of glasses of red*). My heart is full of appreciation for everyone who came onto the zoom call, for everyone who shifted stuff around to be there, for the lovely bloke who read my poem, for the couple who tuned in from bed, for Amanda who got an hour off work, for everyone and everything.
Night night. God bless.
PS *Maybe more than a couple.