Packing Up the Violin

December 14, 2009 at 7:40 am (Uncategorized)

Sulk’s over…As I confessed to Charlotte earlier today, I know perfectly well that staring at the long list won’t change it; trust me, I’ve already tried! Nope, the combined letters stubbornly refuse to transform into a happier tale, there’ll be no magical reassemblage of data into an order that suits, and although I can’t change the result (would that I could), I do know there are ten very excited writers out there who are no doubt still celebrating their own name’s appearance on that list. I do wish them well.

No tears have been shed – I seem to have toughened up a little on the rejection front – but I do feel really disappointed. I hadn’t hoped for more than a spot on the long list, but I admit I did dare hope for that. I know we’ve discussed this before (because there’s so much opportunity), but it remains a strange and difficult thing, trying to be both optimistic and brutally realistic. I have to believe that I can do it and yet in the same breath accept that perhaps I can’t – it’s a bugger.  And bombing out completely unlisted is such a deflating end to the year – another year of such hard work it scarcely seems possible to have it dismissed so decisively. Oh, but of course there’s one more kick in the teeth still to come: the agency’s verdict. Goodie! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it just really feels like I’m on another rejection [not-so-]merry-go-round, and I don’t think the news is going to be good. So I just wish they’d hurry up and SAY IT. Can’t they just SAY IT and have it done?

Enough of that. For now I’m sidelining MS #1 myself. It can just languish in the naughty corner until I’m good and ready. Instead I’ve added 1,300 words to my short story draft today, and once it’s done, I’m just going to press on with MS #2. At some point in 2010, I’ll get another MS assessment done for you-know-what, but until then we’re going to have some time apart. I’d hoped this separation would be in happier circumstances, but sometimes in life, a rogue fruit bat will take a steaming fig-infested shit right down your glass bi-fold doors, and there’s sweet fuck all you can do about it except get down on your hands and knees and start scraping.

In other news, Llewie and I had an excellent fifth wedding anniversary. He took Friday off work to surprise me, so we went out to our favourite local restaurant Jah Bar for dinner Thursday night, then awoke late to a perfect day which culminated in a wonderful dinner at Yoshii with the wedding party (being the two of us, the best man, his wife, and my bridesmaid). The weekend was a happy blur of running, swimming, eating, drinking, catching up with friends and chatting by candlelight with my beloved, so really, in all the ways that matter, I truly did win, and you certainly won’t find me complaining about that.



  1. litlove said,

    So glad you had a lovely wedding anniversary! That’s wonderful. I sympathise so much with your feelings on not making the short list. I had a long talk with myself before making the move over into attempting commercial non-fiction, and I have top-up talks regularly to remind myself that the book market is a weird place, governed by fashion and fear and uncertainty, and that I might write perfectly good books that no one would want because they were just not in the mood or tone of the moment. And that if I was going to have a go at this, I must accept that rejection and disappointment were going to make up the bulk of the process in relation to publishing, at least. After a setback, it’s impossible not to feel fed up for a while, and after all you have a perfect right to those feelings. But your love of writing will overcome them and they will just dissolve when you get back into the pleasure of the craft. Don’t be punitive to yourself or your work – it may just be not the right moment for it, and its time will come.

    • doctordi said,

      I think that’s all very true, LL. And I do endeavour as much as possible to simply accept it may not ever happen, and that therefore I must embrace the writing life just as it is – which, I might add, is enormously fulfilling, a dream come true – but I’d be lying if I said I’d succeeded in shutting out external influences completely. I haven’t, so I still feel this thing as a blow.

      In so many ways it’s actually about my wanting to be able to show certain people in my life that I am not idle, nor indulgent, nor wasteful; so long as it’s all unpublished, it gets harder to convince others that it’s not a lost cause, and that it’s worthwhile and valuable and necessary even if it never gets published. Some people are uncomfortable about my failure to *make it* – and their discomfort discomfits me.

  2. charlotteotter said,

    I agree with Litlove – its time will come. I hope you can enjoy your writing in the meanwhile, and come back to it later with fresh eyes.

    Also very glad to hear you had a lovely anniversary and a happy weekend.

    • doctordi said,

      Charlotte, thank you – I always enjoy the writing, no fear about that, although I’m definitely enjoying not working on that particular MS, and make no mistake!!! Its time may never come, but equally, in time I doubt I’ll mind so much. It exists. I can move on and write other things and it will still exist.

  3. Grad said,

    I am often amazed at what gets published! For instance, there is book out there that is so successful, and in fact, a movie was made based on it. Without naming names, it started as a blog about cooking (you know which one I’m talking about I bet). Anyhow, I wanted to see if the blog was still available to read. I was truly disappointed at the quality of writing in the blog and was bewildered about how it could have been parlayed into such a successful book. So, go figure. Perhaps it was just nolt my taste. There is not doubt others found it fascinating. The moral of the story, I guess, is write to please yourself, and you will find an audience. Kinda like I’ve always said, don’t worry if you have fat thighs. Celebrate your fat thighs and you’ll find a fat thigh lover. I don’t know if that helps….

    • doctordi said,

      Graddikins, I guess that’s one of the reasons this blog has become so important to me, because it’s brought me all of you, and your friendship and encouragement enables me to continue because you are that audience. We reverse that role each time I visit all of your blogs, and so I think we do that for each other, provide a willing audience. In essence that’s all I really want, that relationship between readers and writers, so because I know my MS is recognisably mine, and because I know you guys at least like my writing here, I hope you would respond to the MS in much the same way you respond to my blog, and that hope keeps me very warm and toasty at night, thank you very much! I think its remaining issues are structural; perhaps those problems are terminal. But yes, it irks the living crap out of me when I see bad writing succeed when so much good writing goes begging.

  4. woo said,

    “sometimes in life, a rogue fruit bat will take a steaming fig-infested shit right down your glass bi-fold doors, and there’s sweet fuck all you can do about it except get down on your hands and knees and start scraping.”

    with writing like that you WILL be published, sooner or later. Don’t give up.


    • doctordi said,

      Thanks, Woo – I hope you’re not experiencing a similar bat plague in your own part of Gotham!

  5. Pete said,

    Sorry, Di. I agree with your wise friends above. Your time will come. And you are a damn fine writer. Maybe this is fallow period. Whatever. I’m still backing you. And yay re the wedding anniversary.

  6. doctordi said,

    Thanks, Pete. It’s when you guys STOP backing me that I’ll lose heart. So long as I have you all in my corner, I feel there’s fight left in me yet.

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