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Feel-good storylines needed...

Do you ever have a brilliant idea to do something really nice for someone, but, somehow, end up in a crumpled heap on the floor? Or does that just happen in my family?

A conversation I had with my Mam yesterday reminded me of something that happened to my daughter which always makes me laugh. I'll tell you about that first of all. It's making me chuckle just thinking about it, though I know that if my daughter were here, she would have her '... it wasn't actually funny, Mother...' face on.

My daughter (I am banned from using her name because she is about to become a 'qualified professional' and really doesn't want me sullying her name and ruining her future career). I think I will call her Dot. She would hate that- sorry if that's your name- but at least no one will know I'm talking about her.

Dot can be really kind sometimes (when she's not being vicious). Now and again, she organises lovely afternoon get-togethers for the women-folk of our family. One time she even baked and invited us all to her house. Unfortunately I couldn't go, but the others went, including her mother-in-law, grand-mother in law, sister-in law and her grand-mother and Dot's own Nana.

They were all having a lovely time, sitting around the dining table, chatting and chomping on Dot's corned beef pie, cheese scones and carrot cake, and sipping 'Taylor's Lazy Sunday' filtered coffee, or a cup of PG Tips (from a tea-cosied tea pot) in Nana's case (Nana knitted the tea cosy). The Mothers and Grandmothers started to chat about their offspring. As usual the air was awash with words such as, 'golden boys', 'lovely', 'light of my life,' 'delightful,' etc - you get the picture. And then, Dot's Nana made her contribution... With a sideways look and a sniff in Dot's direction, she said, 'Well... she's impudent...'

Oh, it does make me chuckle. (If you ever read this Dot, you do have to laugh though...).

So, back to my own crumpled heap...

I was chatting to my Mam (Nana above) yesterday about a story idea I'd had. There was going to be lots of fun stuff first, but In the end the main character was going to go off and die (happily though, after a life of drudgery with an oaf of a husband. It was also going to be a comedy... there were good times to be had along the way). Mam was very disappointed about this ending. She likes happy-ever-after ones. She loves the stories in the People's Friend. They helped take her mind off the cancer while she was in hospital.

As I deleted my Nobel Prize winning story from my mind, the conversation turned to Mam's summer cruise. It would be their last because it was so expensive (so difficult not to use family names... you'd think we were in a witness protection programme or something).

Anyway, later on, while I was in the shower, it came to me... Cathy's Cruise Stories.

They would be along the lines of the People's Friend type of story: short, feel-good, clean and devoid of any swearing. Not really my preferred genre, but Mam likes them, so I wanted to write some for her. Any proceeds would go towards the next Cruise and any extra (got to be optimistic) could go to the Macmillan charity she loves.

I was dead excited and I told Richard, my husband (I think it's OK to use his name - so far he doesn't mind being associated with me). He thought it was a great idea. Named after Mam, for the cruises and something you could read on a cruise before going off on a day trip or whatever they do on those awful boat holidays (I really don't like caravans or ships - sorry, Mam, I know your caravan is more like a house and has a huge veranda, and other people's kids visit them in their caravans, and people don't believe you have three children...).

Well, i couldn't wait to quiz Mam all about why she likes the stories- you know, so I could tailor them for her and make them extra special. Not about her, just for her. I can just imagine my mother-in-law's delight if Richard wrote some stories for her...).

'Yes, that would be nice. But don't call them after me,' was her response. 'And I don't want people on the cruises knowing. What if someone associates them with me? All that negativity. What would people think...?'

Well there u go... I reckon that is on a par with the 'impudent' comment.

But, I do want to write some short stories that Mam would love (I like a challenge). They will now be called 'Cassie's Cruise Stories, and I am looking for inspiration for them. I would really love to hear your ideas... Do make sure Mam isn't identifiable though...

Amanda x

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