I checked my emails the other day, as you do. Among the usual spam (your account with such-a-bank has been compromised, please tell us your inside leg measurement...) there was a comment from my website - these are normally someone asking a sensible thing - like can you buy toothpaste in Kuala Lumpur or wondering if I wouldn't like to go travelling where they are.
So it took a few minutes to take this one in. It was from an editor. In America. Please would I write a piece on taking a gap year as an older person, for a book he is editing. There's no money, as it will raise money for a cancer charity.
This is a joke, I thought. Proper editors don't seek out people like me. Delete it, I told myself, before I get too excited. Then I googled him - and he is everything he says he is. He has worked for Big Publishers. This book will be a companion to another that came out last year.
Oh heck, I thought. Then, well, yes - of course I'll write something on taking a grown-up gap year. When do you want it? In ten days, he said. Oh, bloody hell. But - hey ho, what have I got to lose? Though I explained that wouldn't give me to reflect on it. He agreed to read an early draft, see if it was what he was looking for.
He has been utterly professional. And I have sat at my computer, pinching myself because he assumes I am a Proper Writer. So this is what Proper Writers do - flop about with coffee, go for a walk, write scrappy notes, and then tease them into some sort of shape? Does that look professional to you? It felt surreal to me. But it's what I did - and he likes it! Just one small suggestion to add to my first draft, and it was done.
We're into line edits next week, but he has told me to expect very few changes. The book will be out in the spring - and I'll be able to tell you more about it then; and you can feel smug buying it as it is for a good cause.
And I shall probably stare at my name in the credits in disbelief. This may never happen again - but it happened once. So I am allowed to raise a small glass of wine to celebrate?
And you - has anything wonderful dropped on you out of the blue, that made the world look a bit different for a while?