Uphill struggle… the key word is ‘up’

I wasn’t particularly happy this morning. I woke up and looked at the letter confirming my MRI appointment for today, just to remind myself that yes, it was for 10.30am. Except that it wasn’t. It was for 9.20. In an hour’s time. Hmpf.

My hazy-but-happy plan, made last night, to blog and edit before going to the MRI was therefore completely scotched. The MRI itself was very quick – I arrived bang on time, which means I was actually ten minutes late because they like you to arrive ten minutes early – but then I was sat there for about ten minutes or so reading my new book (Jilly Cooper’s Jump) before they called me through.

Then I stood in the little van which houses the MRI machine (for portability purposes?) for another five minutes or so for the person before me to get done, so I obviously hadn’t thrown out their schedule. The MRI-ing itself was speedy and painless, although I should have got the woman to help me sit up afterwards. I so rarely lie completely flat on something the width of my own hips that I forgot I had trouble getting off those kinds of things. Still, I managed in the end.

Upon leaving I rather randomly turned left instead of right out of the car park and ended up in a bookshop, happily buying more books. Happy, that is, until the system made them call in for authorisation of my card payment… Luckily there was no queue and I wasn’t in a hurry. Apparently I had to ‘call this number’ afterwards just to clear a few things up.

It turns out my exploration and exploitation of the social revolution that is Twitter has caused some raised eyebrows over at Barclays. My web tech is based in San Francisco, my artist friend is in Washington and Readercon is in Massachusetts. I was feeling rather stroppy about their defence of my debit card until they finally told me on the phone (a call they paid for) that it was all ok, they’d just been a bit worried.

None of this has much to do with writing, although it probably goes a way towards demonstrating how the internet is making the world an increasingly small place (unless you’re Barclays). It also goes to show that once you start reaching out to the world at large, there is no limit to what you can achieve (or spend your money on) or where.

Personally, I am a great believer in being proactive with your life. Sometimes that involves forking over some hard cash, or in this case, hard plastic, but not always, and I don’t think you should assume that paying for something automatically makes it better. There is a lot that can be found or learned for free. In many fields and writing in particular, self-improvement is often a case of practice as much as anything else. Of course, there are many things which do require payment, like craft books and conferences, and food is always helpful. All opportunities, whether or not they come with a price tag, should be examined – will this lift me further towards my goal? Progress can’t always be bought.

In this particular instance, however, it can. Now that the bank has stopped snarling over my card transactions, I’m off to buy myself a spiffy new laptop so that my internet doesn’t crash every hour.

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About Mhairi Simpson

Writer, dreamer. Magic, dragons, pink mice, cake. Come say hi!
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