“When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers. ”
There have been two occasions in my life where I almost, but not quite, got what I really, really wanted. So maybe I can take comfort from Oscar Wilde’s quote. What would have happened if I had got exactly what I wanted?
The first time was when I was eight, and I had two passions in life. One was my dedication to Sunday school and the Bible: Jesus was my role model. The second was my family of baby dolls: Rosamund, Rosemary and Rosalind. (Their surname was Sweet…). More than anything else in the world, I wanted a proper dolls pram to take them out in. I knew just how to get it. I prayed hard and regularly, certain that God would provide. Nightly, hands together under my chin, “Please God, can I have a doll’s pram?” I stared at the ceiling in the corner of my bedroom, fully expecting to see the ceiling open, and a pram drop through. He didn’t deliver, sowing the first seeds of religious cynicism.
Forty years later, moving from the family home where I had raised my two children, and clearing out the attic, I saw my doll’s pram, in the corner, covered with a dust sheet. I did get it after all….. but for my daughter, when she was eight. With a flash of insight, I realized: of course! my prayers had not been sufficiently specific, making no reference to time scale.
The second time was more recent. Long before Honor’s Shadow, my first novel, was published, when I was writing an earlier novel (Honor’s Ghost, currently being re-written) I maintained my morale by dreaming of winning a Book prize for fiction. I had long given up on praying, having been so badly let down in that regard; but I learned other ways of letting the Universe know what I wanted; I knew how to engage the force…. So I thought about it and dreamed of it, and even painted a picture of the front cover, announcing it’s win of the Booker Prize.
So two near misses…. Oscar Wilde would say I should be grateful.
What near misses have you had??