I used to love working on Christmas Eve. As Christmas approached each year, my boss used to miraculously transform into a human being, and he’d co-ordinat the work so we hardly had anything left to do by the time Christmas Eve came around. Consequently, we’d spend most of the day eating sweets and laughing, everyone feeling high spirited and very festive. I remember one particular Christmas Eve, I was riding round on a forklift truck making a nuisance of myself while my colleagues packed the final orders of the day and anticipated the imminent exodus to the pub. ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ by Journey came on the radio, and as one the thirty or so people in the book distribution warehouse beamed their approval and sang along. There wasn’t a shrinking violet anywhere; everyone belted the song out with gusto, sweet wrappers flying around like confetti, and air guitars being played with breath-taking skill. It was hilarious, it was jubilant, and it was a moment in time that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
We had no idea on that Christmas Eve that our book distribution haven wasn’t going to last forever. Our employer decided that our jobs could be done just as well, and a lot more cheaply, elsewhere. On our last day, my colleagues (many of them friends) and I attended our final staff briefing, and were treated to a ‘rousing’ farewell and thank you speech. I can remember feeling a mixture of emotions: sadness (I’d done the same job for 23 years, and it was hard to say goodbye); anticipation (Dory’s Avengers was already taking shape in my mind); apprehension (what if my writing career didn’t take off?); excitement (it WILL). Looking round at my friends’ faces, I guessed they were all wondering what their futures would hold too. It was an emotionally charged moment, and as the management team wound up their speeches and wished us all the very best of luck there may have been tears – had the highly appropriate ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ not sounded forth from the radio at that very moment. Emotions put on hold, air guitars dusted down, and we ended the book distribution chapter of our lives on a high.
Although it’s unashamedly corny, ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ always puts me in a positive frame of mind; not just because of the lyrics, but also because of the memories I’ve shared today. My first book is now published, and bit by bit I’m edging towards the writing success I crave. Sometimes it’s daunting, but I’m not going to give up on something I love so very much. I’m working on my second novel at the moment, polishing and fine tuning the first part, and turning my thoughts to how the story will continue. The rush of pure pleasure that only comes from writing my own work is back with a vengeance; I’m so excited about my work in progress. Whatever happens, I won’t stop believing.
Today’s tune? Go on, guess!