Digging For Spain

A Writer’s Journey

Digging for Spain by Penelope Todd book cover

I like to think there’s a story already sealed within each of us. Some of us take a long time to uncover, decipher and assent to it. We start our search when we find that the stories we’ve attached ourselves to prove no longer accurate, their themes too limited … I’m talking about the midlife quest we’re invited on when all we’ve abandoned or ignored of our earlier impulses towards life begin to clamour for attention. … I knew I was in some kind of trouble the day my finger started jumping.

I started writing Digging for Spain when I realised I was going to go to Spain, alone, for a month in 2005, to stay at an artists’ and writers’ residence near Barcelona. I began to weave into that straightforward narrative the story of the previous seven years when my life, inwardly at least, changed a lot.

Our children were leaving the nest. I critically questioned my Christian beliefs for the first time — and found them wanting; I began to pursue, instead, a life predicated on my own experience. I gave up nursing to write and edit. I woke from a sleep I hadn’t known I was in.

By 2005, enough time had elapsed since the years of most intense introspection that I was able to tell the story dispassionately.

Every now and then I feel anxious about putting out my own story, but I know it’s not only mine. It’s the universal — often ‘midlife’ — story, of breaking through tired perimeter fences; of coming to see with new eyes; of learning to accept one’s true nature, convenient or not — and the true nature of others; of opening up to life as it is.

You can buy Digging for Spain from me — for NZ$10 plus postage. Drop me an email here so we can arrange it.

Readers have said:

… thank you for your brave, insightful, lyrical DFS which, like a glutton, I devoured in a day or two.

Then there was your faith, your family, the whole nine yards, the whole shooting box dished up. Who could ask for more.

I think it is a book to live by: meaning that I often think of it when certain things bubble up in my life…