Posted in Events, Writing

I am Not a Number

Debbie with a microphone gesturing to the audience
Making the opening address at Oakwood Literature Festival last month (Photo: Angela Fitch Photography)

(This post first appeared in the Hawkesbury Parish News, June 2018.)

 

“Hello, Debbie,” said the lady serving me tea at the Oakwood Literature Festival. “Would you like sugar in your tea, Debbie?”

This struck me as odd, as I had never met her before in my life, but I smiled politely and thanked her for the tea. Then, as I was drinking it, another lady gave called out cheerily as she passed by: “Good morning, Debbie!”

When a third person I didn’t recognise greeted me by name, I started to feel distinctly uncomfortable. How could this be? I was a hundred miles from home, in a part of the country where I had no friends or relations, and yet everyone seemed to know me.

I wondered whether that was how it felt to be the Queen.

Photo of Debbie necklace
How to make friends and influence people… wear necklace with your name on it

And then it clicked. The night before, while spring-cleaning my dressing table, I’d rediscovered a tatty old silver-coloured necklace that spells out my first name in cheap metal italics. I remembered buying it for 99p in a scruffy tourist shop on holiday in Fort William, Scotland. It would be hard to find a more parsimonious version of Sarah Jessica Parker’s iconic gold “Carrie” necklace from the TV series “Sex and the City”, but in a fit of nostalgia, I’d put it on and had forgotten to take it off.

So my reputation hadn’t gone before me after all. All the same, it was so cheering to receive such friendly greetings from strangers that I wore it again the next day, and the day after that.

photo of Debbie and Dawn
Chatting with the organiser of the Oakwood Literature Festival, Dawn Brookes – one of many Festival friends (Photo: Angela Fitch Photography)

NEXT UP: EVESHAM FESTIVAL OF WORDS
I’m looking forward to appearing at the Evesham Festival of Words twice in June – for the full programme, visit their website here.

For more information about the Oakwood Literature Festival, visit their website here.

 

Author:

Author of warm, witty and gently funny fiction and non-fiction, including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mystery series, beginning with "Best Murder in Show", inspired by her life in an English Cotswold community, short stories and essays about country life. As Commissioning Editor for the Alliance of Independent Authors' Advice Centre, she writes guidebooks authors. She speaks at many literature festivals and writing events, and is part of BBC Radio Gloucestershire's monthly Book Club broadcast. She is founder and director of the free Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival which takes place in April, a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, and an ambassador for children's reading charity Read for Good and the Type 1 diabetes charity JDRF.

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