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And here it is, the first blog post of October 2011. It’s been an unsettling start to the month so far, with the extraordinarily beautiful – and very hot! – first weekend. We drove down to Devon on the Sunday to visit my husband’s cousin’s family. Earlier in the summer – far too early in the summer – their baby was born. She was terribly terribly ill, but against so many odds, as well as being the youngest person ever to receive a liver transplant, she is now at home. They are all exhausted; there are still long trips to see specialists, medications that need administering, and of course, having had the liver transplant, wee Lottie has to keep her natural immune system suppressed. Her family are on a mission to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation and to encourage everyone to sign the organ donor registration. In spite of everything, all the stress, the pain, the horrible horrible fears, they are smiling. It was wonderful to see them, despite being – frankly, knackered – quietly at home, with Lottie getting on with the urgent business of feeding, sleeping and growing.

It was wonderful too, to be able to enjoy summer’s last hurrah with the sea-smell in our noses, and sand between our toes. And yet, despite the golden heat, and the deep blue sky, there was something in the light that foretold the end of summer, like a slightly faded postcard from the year before.

Since then I’ve been busy with the ideas buzzing around in my head, like punch-drunk wasps on a bleary afternoon. Notes are being made with gay abandon, in preparation for the 30 day writing frenzy next month. This year, I have decided, the pressure is off. Free-form, rather than formal structure, will be the approach, in order to mine the recent glut of ideas – hazy or otherwise – for short story potential in the future. You never know, I might even discover a gem or two in the process. The Second Draft can wait until after Christmas.