Some things just have to be done. A 35 hour trip from Sussex to Wales and back for a one hour talk less than five days prior to leaving the country for the summer might not seem like a good idea to most people, but it was something I needed to do. The impetus for my trip was the launch of a new book – though it’s not just any book. It’s the sequel to The One Which Saved My Life, and I had to have it, know more about it, and seize the opportunity to thank the author.
It was also the chance to spend time with my Mum and my sister before I went away. My sister’s dedication to the cause outstripped even mine, as she suffered an interesting train journey in order to meet us in Hereford the evening before the session we were due to attend at the Hay Festival. But it was worth the journey for all of us.
When we arrived at the Festival the following morning, I proved that old habits die hard, tripping up and landing in Event Manager Mode. Hay Festival is a well-established event and it shows: my keen eye found no fault with their signage, and was impressed by their branding. Once I had a copy of the not-yet-available book and had discovered public wifi, I even found myself wishing I had an additional pair of eyes, so that I could read my book and Tweet about it simultaneously.
I settled on the book until the session started, when Tweeting resumed (hashtags used included #HayFestival and #aftermyownheart). Although neither of my companions had read The Horse Boy, we all enjoyed the talk: Rupert is an engaging speaker, aided by his passion for the topic, and the hour flew by.
Judging by the size of the queue, Rupert’s hand got a good workout by signing copies of his new book. Mine was one of them, and I was pleasantly surprised when he remembered me from our previous meeting (after all, it’s not stalking if you say hello). I took my chance to tell him that a lot has changed for me in the 18 months since, that I abandoned my job to chase the dream, thanking him and his book for the inspiration.
I’m looking forward to reading The Long Ride Home, and everything else that the summer of 2014 will bring. If you’re an autism parent in the UK, take this opportunity to experience the Horse Boy Foundation for yourself. If you are capable of reading, buy The Horse Boy and pre-order The Long Ride Home (US launch date still to be confirmed). It might make you cry on a bus. It could lead you to quitting your job. Or maybe it’ll just make you think before you criticise That Parent in the supermarket with That Child.