Friday, 6 July 2012

What I wouldn't give...

I don’t wish to use this blog to bore you with the details of what I get up to in my life outside writing. But suffice it to say that I had a bloody awful week at work. It was a very important week for us, with everyone going above and beyond the call of duty and putting in incredible amounts of effort... Except for me.

I managed, through a spectacular display of incompetence that can only be blamed on me and me alone, to royally screw up what ought to have been an important moment for us. If you think I am being overly hard on myself, trust me – I’m not exaggerating.

So that’s made me fairly miserable over the past couple of days. But it also got me back to playing with a little thought that often comes to mind if I’m feeling down. Now, don’t get me wrong – I don’t believe in gods or angels or geniis or fate and destiny or anything of that nature. But it is diverting, every now and again, to just play that game of thinking: “Yes, but you’d accept this if it were the price to pay for you having a novel published, wouldn’t you?”

As if I were in some grand universal bartering system, and could accept the low point of my incompetence at work in return for it guaranteeing publication one day. It crossed my mind the other week as well, after England were knocked out of Euro 2012, on penalties, as always. “Yes, but you’d take that in exchange for having a novel published, wouldn’t you...?”

Of course I would. I wonder how much I would give, though... For instance, I am lucky enough to be in the position of having an interesting job that I enjoy. Would I give that up for twenty years of misery pushing paper or stacking shelves, in return for knowing that if I worked hard at my writing I’d get a novel out eventually?

Hmmmmmmmm. Not so sure... But in the end I suppose I would say yes. I’d take the swap. Surrender my good, creative, interesting job for a lifetime of drudgery, for the sake of the novel.

Actually, that’s a pretty miserable thought in itself, isn’t it?

Fortunately, we live in the real world, where such choices and exchanges do not have to be made. Nothing happens for a reason. Nobody has a destiny. And – sadly – I can’t barter or swap my way into publication.

On the subject of which, I got home this evening to find another rejection e-mail from an agent for my current novel, The Wicket in the Rec. Not as nice as the last one I had – nothing personal this time, just a form reply.


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