The manuscript (typescript? what do you call it if it exists digitally? I think still a manuscript, hand entered, not typescript until it’s printed out) is away, fermenting or maybe seeding itself over again like a Plathian mushroom. It’s away with agents as well. I think what the writing needs is a good, strong dose of rejection. I think that will do it wonders as much as a glug of whiskey and honey helps a sore throat. Not that it’s getting much rejection so far. One very, unexpectedly, kind and nice and supportive ‘no’, and one blessedly quick plaster-rip ‘no’. And apart from that a winter silence – like a fog on a playing field. Like the fog on the playing field that I can see from my window.
We turned the heating on. We don’t want our energy bills to go up, but it’s cold. All week we have been yawning or awake too early. The clocks have gone back, re-gifting the hour that we gave for springtime. I was excited that I could walk home in twilight. London’s autumn evening light was rose. The buildings looked like deep sea creatures lighting up in the dusk. But the hour we’ve gained makes me walk home in darkness. London is now jewels in the dark. I have to wait until after the winter solstice to see the underwater creatures of London’s tall buildings again.
A difficult first third, or at least 80odd pages, that’s what I’m hearing. That’s all right, useful. I’ve begun my edit now. It’s startling to see what I couldn’t before. The distance has done its work. My writing was or is a huge mess of typos, an entire missing section, awkward phrases. The Story is all there, though. And eventually it’s a “page turner” according to some readers who have ploughed through. I think they must love me to get to the end of this draft. It’s pretty hard work with all the errors of style and judgement the readers’ first draft contains.
If I put into google “agents debut novellists commercial fiction” will I see some miraculous future? I’m becoming more nervous as the reading period for my ‘beta readers’ drags on. Some of my readers are reading it through twice to make sure they have given me as much feedback as possible. Others have gone Very Quiet which suggests that it is perhaps difficult to read, too shoddy to read, to shoddy to give feedback to. ERK. Or perhaps they’re busy. Or perhaps they don’t know how paranoid I can be.
Nice people have agreed to read my book project as it is at the moment to help me see it for what it might be. I think that it is in perhaps its third draft, a true horrorshow of lumps and knots. A tree growing around obstacles. I wrote it in fifteen minute bursts on trains, waiting for meetings, at lunch, at gigs. It isn’t very jointed at the moment, or maybe it is double jointed which is too many joints.
Hello, I’m addressing you directly. Some of you will have noticed that I didn’t post in April. The blog has been running for three years of monthly fiction posts. It’s time for a change. Now that I am beginning to submit work for other people to publish I can’t put as much on here. Where there might appear to be gaps in the archive of posts that’s where stories have been reworked from the stump of blog post beginnings for possible publication. Perhaps one day the archive of this blog will be completely denuded. So the blog needs something else. This year I went through two drafts of my first novel-length work. My book project. So I’ve been a bit busy.
The baby is nearly thirty months, not truly a baby any more. He can climb stairs, pedal his tricycle, put words together in groups, although only his mother is very good at understanding him. He pronounces words using only half of his mouth, making the sounds fluffy and intimate. Only if you spend a lot of time with him will you understand his way of speaking. His mother likes this. It’s nice for her that they have this almost secret communication. She’s the one who explains the world to him. She knows that soon he’ll get better at speaking, and soon enough he’ll be at pre-school, and he’ll have other people to explain, and he’ll need her less and he won’t want her so much and this soft time they’re sharing will change into something else.
Dancing to Hole’s album with the sea coming to our feet, I became friends with my sister again. With the night stars pinning the sky up above us, we danced off the sharp tequila that had shaken us. We shared headphones and one cassette tape in a cheap walkman. We were still kids then, sort of. We were old enough to drink tequila, but young enough that we didn’t have anyone counting on us. It makes you selfish, being young. It makes you be inside yourself as the centre of your world. It makes looking back from an older age have this filter of wonder, of the strangeness of yourself, of your younger self.
Two people, at not quite their first meeting but coming together out of boredom and as a result of the deliberate steeping of their own hearts in salt, in a squat-style nightclub in East London at the beginning of Spring, will medicate each other’s wounds only partially successfully and, kiss.