There’s an old expression: “Turning on a sixpence” which means turning in a very small space. (For those too young to remember, a sixpence is a small silver coin in the old currency, which today would be worth two and a half pence.)
In Dare to Remember, my debut novel, one of the areas I wanted to explore was the concept of our lives turning on a sixpence. Some people, I’ve observed, know their lives are set in a certain direction; by middle age it will all be sorted out. They will have achieved a certain position, career, family ambition, financial level, and it will all go on getting better – or at least, staying the same. Some people’s lives do indeed happen that way. But many of us start with an idea of what life will look like in ten, twenty, thirty years, only to find that actually things turn out very differently.
So often life sends us a curve ball, to use another cliché, and our lives click into another dimension. In my novel, Lisa and her best friend Ali are living happily in the city, not expecting anything to change – until it does, when a catastrophe occurs.
Lisa loses all memory of the event which changed everything for her and struggles to recover from a serious injury while mourning Ali’s death. The story follows her efforts to get her life back on track, knowing that she won’t make progress until she knows – remembers – what happened. When she does remember, she knows her life will never be the same. But is her life, now taking a different course, better or worse? Or just different.
I’m not talking about myself here, though some things have happened in my life that I didn’t expect. My life certainly didn’t turn on a sixpence. But I like the idea that we should never be complacent; we should enjoy, or at least come to terms with, the moment. Perhaps we can never predict how our lives will turn out, or how we might be affected by events along the way. But we may be able to take what comes and turn it, guide it, create a path for it so that it becomes what we wanted all along.