Tuesday, 27 November 2007


As I rounded the corner of the last chapter of my long suffering book I felt it was quite a thrill.
I settled down to write the last few pages, happy in the knowledge that it would be all over soon. I trotted out the words to the conclusion and felt the whole story come to an end. I galloped towards those final words The End with the eagerness of a horse on race day.
Now how to occupy my days. I had been living with the characters of my book for the last 2 years. I ate with them, slept with them and they constantly invaded my dreams. Some even woke me up to say something at 3 am, insistent to get their words out.
I had seen them grow from wil’ o’ wisps to full bodied people, real people with real lives.
I felt they were part of the family, and the family has seen them develop over the tea table as well. I wanted to farewell all the players of my book with a last hurrah, so I set about writing a jacket synopsis. Not a full dinner dress jacket just a silk smoking jacket with a bit of style. They fitted the jacket well, and I knew I had done them proud. They could give the public just a glimpse of their follies to come.
I wasn’t going to give all the plot away on the back cover, and so I felt a well crafted little taster, was needed. I introduced my hero and heroine to the reader and told them what they might do if the circumstances arise. I left the audience thinking that they might want to find out more.
Now I had the mammoth task of getting someone as interested as I was. How do you sell 2 years of your life, your dreams and hopes to a complete stranger who has scant inclination to share your enthusiasm?
I needed to let them know that they were missing out on a grand opportunity to make literary history. I needed to let them know that they would benefit from my acquaintance. I had to tell them that by judging me on merit alone was not enough. They had to feel the process I endured to get this tome to their door. I wanted them to realise that they had the grand opportunity to make a difference.
They declined.
At first I thought I would grace my own shores with my literary genius. I felt that I had to support the home grown industry of publishing. After all they would reap the benefits.
They declined.
My postage bill grew exponentially as I threw my sights in ever widening circles. New York and Toronto, New Zealand, and India. All were given the rare opportunity of first rights. It wasn’t long before I started to collect stamps from far-flung places. London, Glasgow, Bombay, Seattle.
I was not one to sit idle waiting for the big break to knock at my door. I decided I needed to see people to get up close and personal.
If I could have a few moments of your time please? If they are such busy people they must be making money for someone, ergo they might make money for me.
They didn’t see it that way.
What I needed I decided, was an agent. All along I was just thinking greed. I wouldn’t mind giving 10% to someone else. Largess would be my catch call. I needed someone with the verve and vigor that I possessed. I needed someone with the snappy line and the all important connections.
I needed someone with a name like Simon Rosenthall. Young, go-getter, with the smarts as they say in the business to get things and open doors. He could see my potential, and I later realised he could see my cheque book sticking out of my handbag. We parted company, just as his company folded.
Then the postman gave me the break I had been waiting for. A letter from Singapore. All the words I was waiting to hear. Loved the strong story line, good characterization, nice ending. They were plumping up my ego and my disheartened spirits like fluffing up a pillow. My head was all light and airy. Then I read and re read the last little line. If you could just send up front $$$……. I deflated like an old wading pool in the back yard. They wanted money from me, not the other way around.
Time heal all wounds. I carried my wound on my back day and night. My book was making me into quazimodo. No-one wanted me. I felt stale and ugly.
I began to see all this commercialism as tawdry and I started to aspire to higher ideals.
I felt a work of art was done for its own sake and not to be sullied with a brash exchange of money. I reminded myself it was a labour of love.
Then the phone rang.
Yes, yes,yes. They, the grand powers that be, had decided that my labour of love was ripe for the picking. They only had a few minor things that just needed such a small, little, minute, tiny, winsy, bit of change. Could I possibly see my way to a bit of an edit?
After I picked over the carcass for the fifth time, the bones were left out in the sun to bleach. A time frame was waved my way, and then I knew; I had hit deadline gulch.
I desperately wanted to finish on time. The barren wasteland that once was my garden of delight, lay on the desk between the editor and myself. I could do no more. Platitudes circled like vultures, over the carcass. On the back burner, next season, when the time is right, all in good time and my personal prickly pear, these things take time, you know.
Why didn’t they just peg me out in the sand and cut off my eye lids, it would be a lot less painful.
Practice makes perfect they say. Now I am living and breathing a new beginning. Plots, characters, sentence structure, quotations, narration but most of all enthusiasm. And I have bundles of that. And a lovely stamp collection too.

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