Tuesday, April 25, 2023

It's My Birthday tomorrow--

Ovidia--every other Tuesday

It's my birthday tomorrow--that's my excuse for using this space to take a look at where I am in my life  now, and how I hope to go into the next year of my life.

The excuse to eat celebrations with unhealthy delicious sweet stuff started last weekend and it's super lovely catching up with people. But mostly the meet ups have got me wondering why I/ we don't feel much older. 

I'm going to be 62 years old and I can remember a time, right after dropping out of med school, when I felt really, really old. I was reading Sylvia Plath, JD Salinger and Joe Orton and was all tired and cynical, and world weary. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life--just that I really didn't want to be a doctor.

Compared to that, now I'm three times older than I was then and I feel--relatively speaking--like a kid who's excited by all the incredible stuff in this world and existence. 

I've also been thinking about my late parents recently, given they were responsible for my original birth day. 

I only started getting books published after my mother died and it's a pity she never saw them.

But maybe her going gave me 'permission' to write what I wanted. Though I never meant to write about her, two aunts (both of whom contributed considerably to Aunty Lee's character, as great nonya cooks who fed me regularly) have told me how much of my mum they see in Aunty Lee, so maybe some of her got on the page without my realising it! 

And then my history mystery books came after Daddy died. I left for Galle for a literary festival two days after his funeral. 

I remember very little about what happened at that festival. I spent a lot of time alone on the beach thinking about his growing up during the war years and how we're all shaped by our personal, geographical and literary histories and when I got back I had a an idea for a new book which became The Frangipani Tree Mystery, the first of my history tree mysteries.

Right now I'm trying to draft the eighth book in that series, which is another reason for my scattered attention!

I wish I worked harder (In Sujata's Anne Perry post a few day's back she mentions Anne Perry's typical writing schedule of twelve hours a day--I wish I could regularly write for just half of that time!)

But I'm taking encouragement from Anne Perry herself too. I've been re-reading her books as my own memorial tribute. This is from Three Debts Paid: Miriam is talking to her father, who supported her studying medicine at a time when women couldn't legally do so in England. Marcus fford Croft has just asked her if she wants to be like her mentor, Dr Eve.

"I would like to be as diligent, which is up to me. And as brave. I've never seen her flinch from anything. And hardworking. That is up to me also."...

"Whether or not I have it in me to be as brilliant," she went on, "I don't know. But I will certainly try."

Looking ahead to the coming year and the rest of my life, I would like to be diligent and brave and hardworking. Whether or not I have it in me to be brilliant, I will certainly try.

I'll end this with some flowers from today's walk. 

The photo below shows the same flowers in context and barely noticeable against the tropical jungle background--

Nothing further from 'desert air' where these beauties are blushing unseen, but I hope you enjoy them today. 

And may you enjoy this day as much as I mean to, wherever you are in the world and wherever you are in your life right now.


  1. What a lovely, post. Happy Birthday for tomorrow, Ovida (I know better than to wish any author Many Happy Returns...)

    To be diligent, brave, hardworking, and to strive for brilliance – which of us could ask for more?

  2. Huge congratulations, Ovida. I have just looked at the newly announced long-lists for the Dagger Awards on the Crime Writers' Association website, and THE MUSHROOM TREE MYSTERY has been nominated for the Historical Dagger!

  3. Happy birthday, Ovidia! And congratulations on the CWA nomination!

  4. Happy (even if fattening) Birthday, Ovidia, BIG congratulations on your CWA nomination, and the warmest of thanks for sharing a recipe for each of us to follow on those occasions we find ourselves reflecting on how to live our lives to the fullest: diligence, bravery, and hard work.

  5. Oh happy, happy pre-birthday, Ovidia! And I'm adding my congratulations on the CWA list. So deserved! I love that this post throws us forward and backward, just like the best birthdays and I'm inspired to find that you are feeling younger and less cynical now than you did in your twenties--it's something to aim for at 64. Have a wonderful day.

  6. Happy happy birthday

  7. Wishing you the BEST birthday

  8. Happy birthday from Singapore Ovidia! X

  9. Happy Birthday, Ovidia! The reading world thanks you for not being a doctor :)

  10. Happy birthday, Ovidia. Oh to be as young as you!