Where now?



It’s no secret that I’ve been going through some fairly major black dog visits recently and we seem to have dragged each other to a crossroads. So I’m standing here with Bippy the Black dog obediently at my feet looking at the signposts.

The trouble is I wrote several books in quick succession which met with reasonable success. I haven’t run out of ideas. Far from it, I have sequels lined up and  a completely different genre forming an orderly queue. No, the two problems I face are my brain, the physical, co-ordination side of it and social media.

Since my stroke and my coma after the motorbike accident I have found it nearly impossible to write more than a short article. The ideas are there but getting the words onto the screen is painful. I have tried dictation aps but they are American and turn my BBC English into a mangled form of what I was trying to say. It is actually quicker to cope with the migraine and continue typing. Will I ever be able to write again? Can I still consider myself an author?

I only joined social media when I was published as I was advised it was vital. I’ve made some wonderful friends on there but it is a minefield. One person is making life awkward for me and for friends. I can’t read his posts but can see their replies. I have to say “What did X say?” This is stupid especially as I have removed the blog post to which he took offence, apologized profusely, never named him, sent apologies through friends and generally bent over backwards to make amends. I remain firmly blocked by him. I have emailed til I’m blue in the face!

So you’re all going to say “oh just ignore him” which would be easy if he weren’t  with the same publishers as me. We have dozens of mutual friends who I don’t want to drag into this mess. Anything he posts on our publisher’s page is invisible – sorry, what did X say?

I’m going away next Wednesday morning. I have a couple of weeks with my beloved aunt in Scotland and then a conference in London where I’m helping as a volunteer. This will give me time out to have a very long think about what I really need to do in my life. Should  I keep banging my head on a brick wall both with this other author (no I WON’T name him ever)  and with my own writing. Would I be better just walking away from the lot of it?


Nearly three weeks away from FB  will give me time to decide. I may close my account temporarily anyway.  Waiting in the wings are two more books in the Alchemy series, more anecdotes from my travelling life and general chaos plus one I was asked to write on the subject of herbs and healing. Lot to think about.


31 thoughts on “Where now?

  1. Hi Ailsa,

    It is rough when the black dog visits, but remember that it lies. Dictation apps can be good but look at software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking. Don’t give up, the ones with duracell last longer.

    Much love,

  2. It’s horrible when that happens. I’ve been there. My advice: don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Don’t try any more with this man. You’ve made every effort. If he gets to a place where he’s ready for rapprochement, he can say so. You’ve left the door open. Maybe don’t visit the pages where he posts, even if they are your publisher’s pages. But don’t get rid of FB completely, if possible – there’s a warm community of people who love you right there. If you have to, though, I’ll understand, and your wellbeing must come first. xxx

  3. Bless you, Ailsa, and may the black dog lie quietly at your feet.
    As for the other issue, there comes a time when enough is enough. Your door is open should the offending man wish to return to the warmth of your fold. I think the issue is his, not yours.
    Stay with us dear lady even if you take regular breaks from FB.
    Always love your good nature and humour – I would miss you.

  4. With regards to the other author, I absolutely say stop emailing, contacting and apologising. You have done your bit, they are not interested, leave it.
    With regards to writing, keep going! Have you considered a ghost writer (I think that’s what they’re called?), I just mean someone to type up what you’re saying? I imagine the cost could be a problem but might be an option?

  5. Whatever you do, don’t stop writing, Ailsa, even if it does mean you write painfully slowly through the migraines (I’ve done the same). As for the unmentionable, uncharitable bastard, it is best to ignore the f****r but I do see how difficult that is when you’re faced with blank posts. I do hope you have a wonderful and thoughtful break in the UK. Take care,
    Sarah x

    1. By the way, the comedian Jim Sweeney, who used to appear regularly on Whose Line Is It Anyway, has MS and swears by Dragon. These types of software take time because they have to ‘learn’ about your writing but is worth being patient. I’ve only got an old version which drives me nuts.

  6. I just hope you stay in contact with me. Beautifully written blog and I understand the heartache of being blocked by someone who was once a good friend. I doubt they will move off their high horse, so better to try to ignore them.

  7. I have Dragon Naturally Speaking too but I don’t have the patience to train it (and with my peculiar accent I doubt it would ever get use to me). The suggestion of a ghost writer is not that bad and I’ve heard Elance is not a bad place to try, but have no personal experience myself.
    I agree you’ve done more than enough to get in this author’s good books. I have no idea if your publishing company has a particular code of conduct with regards to interactions with fellow authors or they are hands off, but it seems very peculiar…

    1. I’ll give it one more try on the speech recognition but last time I tried “In which I become a dictator” came out as “In witch eye B cum a dick tator” … not exactly what I had in mind.

  8. Sorry to hear of your problems. I think a short break will do you good. Social media can be overwhelming…even without health problems. Be kind to yourself and don’t worry about the guy. He clearly isn’t a true friend. Friendships come and go. 😉

  9. I won’t ‘like’ this post, because I recognise in it a fellow blocking-hater. Whether it’s on FB or in real life, this upsets me more than it should. It’s all very well for people to say, “ignore them,” but sometimes that’s just not possible. But a break always helps. (((keep strong)))

    1. Thanks Miriam. “I’m not speaking to you but will whisper in other people’s ears” strikes me as very childish. It’s also hurtful. A break will help and by the time I come back I’ll know if I’m still a writer.

  10. Absolutley no doubt you’re a writer. Your writing delights me and many others, but I totally understand the pain and difficulty in writing. I hope you have some time of peace and decision while you’re away, and we’ll miss you greatly. I hope you keep your FB group as a minimum if you feel you need to lose some social media, I, and many, don’t want to lose someone so lovely like you xxxx

  11. Bless you Ailsa – I, too, am retiring from internet temptations for a while – until my WIP is well and truly finished. That’s the intention, anyway. Best of luck, and thinking of you.

  12. FB is beginning to impinge on my writing time, at least at the moment, so may take a little time out, just to finish editing. They say FB is essential for a writer, but on the book front, I’ve not noticed any improvement yet. Loving the friends I meet though!

    1. Thank you – all of you. I know I can still think up stories and maybe if I move away from FB I will have the time and a less stressed brain to cope with the physical side of it.
      Your words of encouragement about my writing are so welcome and uplifting. You’ve made me feel better already xxxxxxx Thanks

  13. dear ailsa, i really really hope you get the rest you deserve to build up some strength and get rid of the pesty migraines. to me you will always be a beloved author whose books i cherish. when i read about the big black dog being at your feet at the crossroads two women came to mind – no, goddesses. hekate is the goddess of the midnight crossroads, a very wise woman with very big black dogs. maybe she was and is so misunderstood because she suffered like you? maybe she had this foggy underworld resort because she couldn’t stand the harsh sunlight with her migraines? but to always reside in the fogs also causes dark moods. reading the stories about her, she might have even been a bipolar. so, you have your own goddess now. ❤ the other goddess is Frau Holle from Germany. she's a crossroads goddess, too, with black hounds. the goddess of life and death and the protector of children. on the night of the 31st of october she leads the throng of lost souls that haven'T found their way yet or were murdered (the murderer never caught or taken to account). a lot of them are children because she's the protectress of them – alive and dead. she is their she-bear, guarding them from harm. this sounds a lot like you, dear bear-mother. and then there is the fact that she takes unwary travellers into her host of souls – unless you're able to offer her a jug of beer. she's the goddess of beer brewing, and spinning yarns of all kind, sweeping the floors clean with a broom and weaving stories on her loom. yep, you're definitely my Holle. keep safe.

  14. oh forgot. she’s the goddess of the elderberry tree (holunder, the holle tree) and some more herbs and natural remedies. she’s a herbal tea master and refreshes the mind and soul with her tisanes. love the thought of you in Scotland.

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