If You Want to Be a Writer, Grow a Thick Skin
If you want to be a writer, grow a thick skin. Poor reviews, bad press, and rejection are parts of every writer’s life. The sooner you learn to accept that, the better. I’m not saying it to be mean—I’m saying it because I love you. Hopefully you’ll understand that. Darlings, I care about you and I want you to succeed.
When someone says someone less than stellar about your work, don’t fret. Take it as a compliment that someone read your work and thought enough of it to analyze it critically. A critic’s opinion isn’t a reflection of your soul. Don’t take their words personally. Most of them mean well.
You’ll hear all kinds of comments—some based in fact (notes you’ll jot down for later reference), some based in nothing but malice (notes you’ll file away to bring up right before you go to bed, because of course you will). You need to take them as they come, keep the ones that matter, and let the rest go. That’s all there is to it.
I’ve seen students break down in fiction workshops because someone made a good point about their work. Some students burst into tears. Some become hysterical. It’s difficult to watch. I’m not saying I’ve never been upset in a workshop—believe me, I have. My point is that you should view critiques as opportunities to improve, not indicators of your self-worth.
If you want to be a writer, grow a thick skin. Otherwise, my darlings, you might not make it. And I’m rooting for each and every one of you to make it.
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF
BERNADETTE CYNTHIA HEALY
I feel my hand hover millimetres away from my face, the involuntary reaction to hearing Albert's name spoken out loud, in context to the present day. He's alive. And he knows I'm looking for him.
'Yes, Albert was the one who managed to convince Mr Nelson to make the first move. He was too impatient to wait for Augusta to make the connections on her own. What was it she said to you?'
'Nothing you didn't expect, she's made a few good guesses having found the church and realising that Albert was married here, but she's no closer to finding him. I expect it won't take too long though, unless you want to lift the veil, so to speak, and reveal Albert sooner rather than later?'
I strain my ears in the hope of hearing every syllable that Mr Hayworth is about to utter, but the passing of an ambulance deters me and I can only hear the final few words, '... knows how she'll react when she finds out?'
The two men make small talk leading up to a goodbye, and I choose to stay in the garden, away from the entrance to the church – I can't risk being seen at this stage. I go over the conversation I overheard in my head so as not to forget any of the details. Keith may be disappointed with my more underhand tactics, but it seems I'm falling behind my competitors. To think that they've even managed to convince a priest to get involved in a family affair?
I wish I knew what it was they were hiding, other than Albert's entire existence. If he's alive and well, it only confirms he disowned his sister. It's worse hearing that he actively chose to emancipate himself from his sibling than reading it in a letter. How could you ignore a family member? I never thought I'd feel sorry for my husband's mistress, but once again the unwanted emotion bubbles over, and I can't help but wish Bernadette Cynthia Healy had had a nicer life so I could have despised her without guilt.
Ten minutes pass before I trust myself to leave without being seen. I want to return home and think about all that has happened today. I want to speak to both my children and get their opinion on all I have learnt, but I have to honour Jack's request. Keith will have to be my other should to lean on, while I fill Polly in with all the details.
The bus journey home gives me the time to mull over Mr Hayworth's underhand behaviour. To think Albert knows all about his sister's death and the Last Will and Testament which entitles him to millions of pounds. Why is he allowing me to frolic in a matter that could be solved in minutes? I can't think of an answer, which only makes me realise that there is something more going on. There is an aspect that I haven't worked out yet, and nothing makes me more uneasy than the unknown.
#Fiction #Serial #WWII - Last Will and Testament of Bernadette Cynthia Healy - Episode 28 - @duchessshire
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF
BERNADETTE CYNTHIA HEALY
That's why Jonathon and I were such a good team; we were very different, which usually worked to our advantage. I called Keith and left another message on his answer phone, 'nothing to worry about, I've just seen our lovely guest from this morning turn up at the church where Albert Healy married back in 1961. Thought you should know.' That's what Jonathon would have done. Now he would sit in a café, or back in the garden and wait for Mr Hayworth to leave.
But that's not what I'm going to do.
I can't help but feel slightly incongruous as I return via the church gardens. Mr Hayworth and Father have already disappeared into the cloisters, the door closing firmly behind them, but that isn't enough to deter me from acting the innocent bystander. I attempt to open the church door, the knocker warm to the touch, but it doesn't budge against my weight. I let it slam heavily against the door in frustration. I prefer the unsubtle approach.
A phone rings loudly and it takes me a minute before I realise it's my own. Keith's name blares up flashing out of time with the ringtone but I'm disinclined to answer it. His discouragement would only spur me on my endeavour and it is enough to know he is concerned about my behaviour to believe my current actions may not be within certain legal boundaries. It would be unfair to include him any further.
I cancel the call and walk the perimeter of the church, looking for an entrance I can sneak through when I spy an open window. It's far too high for me to climb through, let alone see the priest and the lawyer, but I can hear the vague conversation of two men echoing through the acoustics of the church. I stand beneath the stained-glass window rummaging in my handbag while I strain my ears to hear a languid conversation.
'... appreciate you seeing me again on such short notice. I still have quite a lot of loose ends to tie up and I haven't quite had the cooperation I'd hoped for.' I'd recognise the slimy voice of Mr Hayworth anywhere, but I'm surprised this isn't the first meeting between the priest and the lawyer.
'It's always a pleasure to help one of my parishioners. Who hasn't been so cooperative? I found Mrs Davidson quite enjoyable. She certainly has a fiery personality.'
'So you wouldn't be surprised she's less than cooperative then?'
I can't help but smirk at the understatement of my behaviour this morning and can almost imagine Father Thomas' grin mirroring my own.
'No, that doesn't surprise. She doesn't strike me as someone worth crossing. She doesn't have any more information than you imagined she'd have. How is Albert? Have you let him know you've made contact with Mrs Davidson?'
Stephen Moran lives in Las Vegas with his beautiful wife, baby Kiana, and two dogs.