The Pope at London Paddington
I felt a bit like the Pope as I exited London Paddington Station on Friday. Through the surging hordes of end-of-the-week commuters, I rode sedately down the platform in the back of an electric buggy to the sound (most bizarrely) of a live brass band. All that was missing, I thought, was a regal wave of the hand and, perhaps, some hysterical cheering.
The smiley guy who’d collected me off the train (broken my foot, by the way) deposited me at the taxi rank where I was whisked to the front of the long queue, apologising profusely, and into a waiting taxi.
John, my friendly taxi driver, shared his “25-Years-As-A-LondonCabbie-Stress-Busting Tips” (nightly hot chocolate and comedy DVDs, in case you’re wondering) before dropping me off at my hotel. I was in London for the Hay House Writers’ Workshop weekend and, despite being on crutches for the last three weeks courtesy of our six-month old puppy, Liquorice (not entirely her fault – I turned my foot over in a rabbit hole), I was determined to come.
The first day of the workshop didn’t get off to the best start, to be honest. Despite being assured that the venue was fully accessible, the only way for me to get in and out was to go up and down the road – no proper pavement – while cars whizzed past me. (If you face these sorts of challenges all the time, you have my respect. I’ve done it for three weeks and already I’m sick of it).
I felt overwhelmed by the number of people who were there and the fact that most of them seemed, already, to know each other. And, when I finally got the opportunity to ask the CEO of Hay House about my book idea and he told me that he didn’t think it would work, I was ready to go home.
Cue Alison. After hobbling up the road to get some lunch (none provided at the venue and nowhere terribly accessible to get any), I was queuing outside a sandwich shop wondering whether to go for salad or cake (I bought salad. Bad move as I ended up spilling oil all down my dress). With a lovely warm smile, Alison asked me if I needed any help. She carried my tea back to the venue for me and, after that, things took a turn for the better.
Day two was my favourite. I loved listening to Robert Holden – author of books like Happiness Now and Loveability and founder of The Happiness Project – talking about his experience of writing. I also enjoyed hearing again from Reid Tracy about how to write an irresistible book proposal.
One of the highlights was when a lady who channels messages from the angels stood up to ask Reid Tracy a question. The exchange went like this: Lady: “I can’t put together an overview of my book because I don’t know what will be in it until the angels give it to me.” Reid: “Ask them, they’ll tell you.” Huge cheer. This is no away-with-the-fairies hippy sort of guy but a chief exec who has built Hay House up from sales of $1million to $100million and made it the biggest publisher of self-empowerment books in the world. What a great response.
So, now, there’s one publishing contract up for grabs and more than 200 wanabee writers scrambling for it. And Reid thinks my idea sucks. Hmm, I wonder, can I pull off a miracle before next April when the competition ends. Time to call on the angels, I think. Where did I put that lady’s number?