It's the Little Things by Misha Herwin


Scrolling through my phone this morning I saw the quote that inspired this blog. Not realising it at the time I got up and went to do something else at which point what I wanted to write was fully formed but there was no way I could find the exact quote I wanted to use. So instead of a few pithy words I am ambling through this long introduction, which is a little ironic as I want to write about how the small things in life are the ones that can bring joy.

This is especially true when it comes to evaluating success. I don’t make a living out of my writing. I’m not sure if I even cover the costs on some of my books, nor am I well known for what I do. I can’t say therefore if being in the best seller list would make me any happier than I am. Initially I suspect there would be a moment of euphoria, a sense of achievement at having finally been validated by the rest of the world. But how long would that last?

In the event, this is a question I will never have to answer. What I do know is that those moments of recognition by other people, which might never be replicated in sales or fame, are the ones that spark joy and tell me that what I do does matter.

Years ago, I was talking to another member of the drama group I go to about “Shadows on the Grass.” I had no idea she would buy it or that having read it she would go to the trouble of writing me a note. Kept safe in my Feel Good Box it finishes reads “I am 99 this year and so glad I have lived long enough to enjoy your writing.”

More recently, this year’s World Book Day I heard that the daughter of a friend of a friend had gone to school dressed as Amelia, the apprentice witch from “The Awesome Adventures of Poppy and Amelia.” It’s impossible to describe the bound of joy I felt when I was told this and even now I’m smiling as I type. As for my fellow author, granddaughter Maddy, her response came in a single word  “Wow” followed by a star burst emoji.

 Poppy, Amelia and their vampire friend Mia as drawn by Maddy aged 9


Griselda Heppel said…
What a wise post. Particularly your point about the thrill one would feel at being in the bestsellers list... but how long would that last? Not nearly as long as we think, from our far away positions! Being up there with the greats would bring an explosion of new insecurities: supposing I never make it again, that my next book flops, everyone will know in a way they wouldn't have before when I was nicely obscure... I don't know, I just imagine it must be like this.

Far better to enjoy the little things, as you say. I would be over the moon if a child went to school on World Book Day dressed as Ante, or Henry Fowst, or as the head in The Fall of a Sparrow, with a jackdaw on her shoulder, so I totally get your joy at hearing about the girl who'd gone as your Amelia! Now THAT is validation.

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