Thursday 26 July 2012
colours of day
Yuck. That green is appalling. You see, that's what happens when you tinker. No more of that, thank you. Experiment over. Sorry, sorry, sorry, if you couldn't read it. Now then, I was at an interesting gathering last night -and I don't do these things very often, so wore inappropriate clothing, as always and felt like a square peg, hey ho, it is ever thus, just let me write and commune with my imaginary people, that's all I want - anyway it was full of writerly people receiving writerly awards for being right writerly. It was nice, actually and held in an old building with a tiled lobby and sweeping staircases and miles to go to the rest rooms. It was round tables with cloths and a sea of wine glasses in front of me and none to drink because I was driving -ah me- but smashing food and speeches and prizes and a string quartet in the lobby. Splendid, actually. I was expecting sausage rolls somehow but you can't have sausage rolls in a place with staircases that embrace you in their arms and the names of the great and good are stamped into the cornices of the Great Hall. It made me think about being writerly. I was being an author on Monday and Tuesday, by phone. Editing. It shouldn't come as a surprise to me, but it did, just how exhausting close scrutiny of your work can be; how being asked questions about your characters, what you mean by a certain statement, having to remember why someone is doing this instead of that, can be so mind scraping. My mind has been focused on the second novel for so long now that shifting gear, back to the first was really hard. Yet the care taken by the editorial staff to make sure my words look good on the page, my ideas have continuity and I don't have cats sitting on ledges that couldn't possibly be there, twelve floors up on a glass walled tower block (the things you miss when you're writing) makes me feel that my work has a value attached to it. The amount of time they give to this process inspires me, flatters me and reinforces my sometimes wavering belief. Mind you, I did have to lie down afterwards in a darkened room with a wet cloth on my head when the work was done. Nevertheless I'm glad to say that I didn't have names changing half way through my book or eyes changing colour or towns changing names or possibly even county. But it makes me want to say to anyone who attends my writing group, you've been let off lightly, if you think my critical analysis is tough. You ain't seen nothing. And if those fresh faced and shining award winners of last night think the next stage is going to be a doddle, now they've got their awards, they might have to think again. I received mine in 2006 for this first book and I was blown away by the knowledge that someone, somewhere liked my writing and was willing to endorse it and give me money to allow time to complete it. Then the reality kicks in. Anthem comes out in 2013. Seven years. Yet the second one won't have anywhere near as much time and space to be written, as it's due out in 2014. It comes as quite a shock this real world of writing. It puts the stamp of work and employment, the tethers and weights and frustrations of being an author onto the pleasure of writing. But what a joy this new job is. What an amazing thing it is. I just love it.