Fame and exhaustion

February 2013 will forever be the month when I felt famous. Since Making Finn came out I have received requests from radio stations, magazines and newspapers to talk about the book. The attention has come as a surprise. When I wrote the book, I never really thought it would be published. And when it got published I didn’t really think anyone would actually read the thing.

The attention has been exciting but also nerve-wracking. Radio interviews, book launches and bookclub talks to 50 people all require public speaking and public speaking is something I’ve worked very hard to avoid since the days of high school speech festivals.

But, of course, the attention has also been exciting. Friends and even strangers have communicated with me via twitter or Facebook to say they’ve enjoyed reading the book or that it’s resonated with something they’re going through. And it feels good. Very good. Like how real connecting always feels.

Last Friday I flew to Johannesburg for a client presentation (my real job) and then afterwards to do an interview with Kate Sidley for Living and Loving magazine and then to meet up with the marketing team at Penguin to discuss this new thing that has suddenly and unexpectedly taken centre stage in my life. I’d been looking forward to the trip for some time.

And so when a little voice woke me up at 4am on Friday morning to ask me for water I was not overjoyed.

“Mom, I’ve got a cough,” Finn said, his chest tight and wheezy. “Mom, I need water.”

I walked heavily to the bathroom trying to keep one eye closed, to not absorb too much light, and poured him a glass of water.

“Go back to bed now cookie,” I said.

“Mom, lie with me.”


“Mom, please lie with me.”

“Ok, just for a little bit.”

“Mom, is it school today?”

“Yes, it is Finn. Now go back to sleep.”

A bit of wheezy coughing. Not me.

“Mom, do you know what we’re going to do at school today?”

“I’m not sure Finn. Isn’t it that under-the-sea stuff you’re learning about?”

“Not fire trucks, or medical stuff or emergencies?”

“No, I don’t think so. Why?”

“I think I’m too sick to go to school.”

And so our conversation continued, with a couple of wee-breaks thrown in, and a few more coughing fits, right up until 5.45am when I lobbed Finn in front of Jock of the bushveld (the version where he doesn’t die at the end) so I could get ready to catch my flight to Johannesburg. Roxi and Jet slept through most of this in a jumble of arms and legs in the middle of our bed.

Friday turned out to be a good day despite feeling exhausted, nervous for the presentation, worried about Finn and excited to go to Penguin. Because, despite the upheaval of emotions I’ve experience in February, it feels that life just doesn’t get better than this.