I decided some time ago that I am entitled to call myself a writer, a real one. If I produced a detailed CV I could demonstrate moments of real achievement – though not the kind of achievement that involves recognition, on more than a minuscule scale, of my work.

I reflect on this particularly at the moment, because the small independent publisher who sent me a series of appreciative emails from their hillside hideaway in California, giving the latest lockdown period a patina of calm and quiet confidence, seems to have dissolved into a mist. Unusually, I am not pursuing same elusive publisher because there seems little point. When I realised that they might have been, as they say in California, bullshitting (excuse language,) I asked myself this question. Have I failed to market my work in ways that would actually be perfectly justified? Beyond doubt not one of the best writers, and not very prolific – but also, not one of the worst either.

The short story collection, for example. Why do I not publish it myself ? After all, 9 out of the 14 stories in it have already been published, in journals or online. `The Emissary` number 10 will be in Stand Magazine, in late 2021.

The one thing I have (so far) self-published continues to appeal to people who have an interest in M E. M E and Me, a memoir. Today, this – from director Helen Parry, in Manchester, on her facebook page. “”Just finished reading M E and ME by Deborah Freeman. It is a remarkably honest account of dealing with a condition that seems to be so poorly understood and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who has a family member or friend who lives with this illness. I feel that I have a much greater understanding of and insight into M E now and am much better equipped to support someone dealing with it too.”” Thank you Helen.