Be careful what you wish for…..



“When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers.

Oscar Wilde

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??

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