You may be surprised that I am writing to you. After all, we just met face-to-face and had a very pleasant conversation in the café around the corner from your house. You thought this was a random meeting with a stranger, but I’m sorry to say I was not completely honest with you.
The thing is, Jennifer (that’s what your mother always calls you, right?) I am no stranger. I am your future self. I have time-travelled back from the year 2019, and I came straight to Melbourne to seek you out in that nice little house in North Carlton that you and Bruce will rent until you buy a place of your own. Yes, that will happen quite soon. No, sorry, you won’t be able to afford North Carlton. You will buy a little house in Brunswick and you will love it.
But you’re not paying attention to this. You are already scoffing and turning this letter over in your hands, wondering who would be playing such a trick on you. You are 25, you think you know everything, and you are much too rational to believe in time travel. That’s why I couldn’t tell you this in person. But it’s true. You are standing now at a crossroads, looking down the unknown path to your future. I am standing at the other end of the path, and I can see it all in the clearest of detail.
You have many questions about your personal life. I am not going to answer them, because anything I tell you could influence and change your life in unpredictable ways. You would like to know about children – grandchildren, even. I won’t tell you that either, except to say that, looking in that direction, I see much happiness.
Your biggest question is the one you might not ask. You’re not used to confessing the thing that’s most important to you: your wish to be a writer. But that’s the question I have come to answer.
You will be a writer. You are already a writer.
One day, when you have the space and the freedom, you will write books and you will be published. Don’t be disappointed if you find there is a long journey to reach that point. The journey is what counts. Along the way you will make many discoveries about human nature, human experience and human emotions. Just keep your eyes and ears open wherever you go: on the bus, at work, when you’re travelling, when you’re with friends. I don’t need to tell you this, because you will do these things in any case.
When the time comes you will know what you want to say. Don’t expect to be at your best when you start. Just keep doing it, keep striving to get better, and you will find that you can learn and improve.
Meanwhile, just live your life. Watch, think, feel and explore your feelings. Be patient, and read. That’s all you need to do.
I have to hurry back to 2019 now, because I have a two-book deal with a fabulous publisher and I need to finish the second book. Have faith. This will happen!
Jennifer Spence has worked as an English teacher, a scriptwriter of soap operas and a technical writer. She is the author of three children’s books and a crime novel. She lives in Sydney.
Buy The Lost Girls here.
A haunting tale of love and loss that will make you think twice
What would you do if you had the chance to change a pivotal moment from your past?
How far would you go to save someone you loved?
These are just two of the fateful choices a woman is forced to grapple with in this highly original and hauntingly evocative detective story of love and loss.
At the core of the enigmatic Stella’s story, past and present, is a mystery she is compelled to solve, a beautiful young woman who went missing fifty years ago – and a tragedy much closer to home she must try to prevent.
As Stella unravels the dark secrets of her family’s past and her own, it becomes clear that everyone remembers the past differently and the small choices we make every day can change our future irrevocably.