flex team stories: Treby
flex storyteller and journalist Treby on writing, family, home, and the privilege of being able to step into the lives of others.
No ordinary days. I wake early and drink coffee and spend too long fudging around. Today started with an editor’s request for a photo to illustrate a piece I’ve written about diaries and attic secrets. I’ve spent most of the morning in the shed with socks and an old white dressing gown on, trying to track down an image of my maverick great aunt. She’s not easily found and I came out covered in cobwebs.
Now though I am dressed in a Wonder Woman t-shirt to give me the oomph I need to succeed today. I am preparing questions for an interview with a Board member of the accountancy network we communicate for. I am wondering how to brand a new drinks project. I am weeping at the transcripts of people who have been brave enough to explore restorative justice. I am forming ideas for a feature about the critical importance of strong bereavement support after losing someone to suicide. I am, more than anything, privileged to step into other people’s lives and write their stories.
At the centre of my own life are my three daughters – Molly, Megan and Hatts. Pride isn’t loud enough. These girls make me whole. They are business women and actors and writers and singers and musicians and pub workers – all of these things, but they also speak the family motto of ‘big heart’ as noisily as they can. No three people make me happier.
There is a dog who makes me happy too. He’s called Stan and he’s a creamy colour with serious eyes and an exuberant licky love for everyone who says hello to him. He makes me laugh when he runs and his ears flap backwards and he thinks his life depends on him catching up with the dog he’s chasing. He rarely does. His legs are shorter than they should be and he has no brakes. A bit like me.
I live in a canal-side cottage and mostly I write as I watch the long boats and the ducks and the fidgety geese. It sounds idyllic but it’s distracting too and my desk is too close to the kitchen. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
I am a reader and a writer. More than a year after moving here I still haven’t unpacked all my books. And though I write every day I am a forensic rewriter and sometimes all I have to show at nightfall is one perfect sentence which never feels perfect the next day. And so it goes on.
My girls live in Bristol and Brighton so I travel south a lot. My four brothers are all northerly and my sister is in Norwich – we have an enormous bond but we don’t see each other enough. Our fabulous Mum died nine years ago. I cannot find words for the many ways I miss her. She taught me everything about courage and mischief.
I am a funny bundle of being shy and loving my friends. I don’t seek lots of company but I know where I am happy. I want to travel more. Go back to India (where I went in 1985), spend more time in Kerry, drive through France in an old green MG with a headscarf on and books tied to the boot! I want to be excited, always.
For now, for today, I am finishing a piece about a woman sitting before her abuser. I cry. A little later I will switch to writing about money. And later still I will meet a friend. This is my life. Tomorrow will be different.