The Backstreets of Purgatory

By Helen Taylor

Caravaggio in Glasgow: A Tale of Art, Insanity and Irn Bru

Monday, 27 March 2023

My mum

Dear friends,

This is a cross-post from love lay down beside me and we wept, so apologies to those of you who have received it twice but I wanted to post it here because Mum was really involved in helping me fund Backstreets.

I've been a bit quiet here and on social media for the last few weeks. As some of you know, my mum died recently and it has been a very sad time with a lot of readjustments to make, both practically and psychologically. I didn't know whether to mention it here or not because it feels odd talking about it publicly, but given how many of you knew her, it wouldn't have been right to have said nothing.

I'm not going to say a huge amount though. We had a lovely farewell to her at the funeral among family and friends, and we've shared our stories, our tears and our giggles (my mum was a proper giggler; that's where I get it from!). But what I do want to say here, because it is so relevant to my books, is what an amazing job she did as my chief unpaid, unofficial, uncomplaining PR/crowdfunding manager, firstly for The Backstreets of Purgatory and latterly for love lay down beside me and we wept even though by then she wasn't very well. She told all her friends about the books, brought in loads of pledges and a big audience for my reading events for Backstreets (although I suspect when she heard some of the language she rather wished she hadn't!), and used her connections to help me arrange a successful event in the local library. She wanted to help in whatever way she could, to the extent that in one of our last Facetime conversations, she was pressing me to accept whatever funds were required to get love lay down over the finish line. I didn't take her up on the offer because it didn't seem quite right, but I was really moved by how much she wanted to make things easier for me at a time when things were so difficult for her.

Here she is, serving Tunnock's teacakes at my Montrose Library event back in 2019. It doesn't feel quite real that she has gone.

Helen xxx

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Helle Patterson
 Helle Patterson says:

My deepest condolences. I wasn’t close to my mother - she wasn’t taught how to show affection (we talked about it) - but I envied others who related well to their mothers.

posted 29th March 2023

Sandra Johnson
 Sandra Johnson says:

That must have been very difficult to write. You must be missing her so much. I'm missing her so much because she was just such a lovely day. Well done and I hope you get your remaining financial support to publish the book.

posted 29th March 2023

Melissa Bailey
 Melissa Bailey says:

This must have been hard to write, Helen, grief is so often such a private thing. I found it moving. Thank you for sharing.
Melissa xx

posted 1st April 2023

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