Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Defining oneself

Sometime I envy folk who always knew what they wanted to do . . . a doctor, a lawyer, a wedding cake maker, something more tangible than being a writer.

For about twelve years now I've been writing for on average an hour first thing in the morning - first thing being around 6:00 am - and when things have been chugging along nicely, coming back to the work of the moment several times a day, other jobs permitting. With this routine I've written nine novels, a volume of short stories, penned many illustrations, and have felt this all to be vital for who I am. I can say I am a writer, thankfully given affirmation from both marvellous and supportive friends and family, and, more importantly if one is counting success as a published book, from agent and publisher.

However . . . to keep kicking away at the publishing door for the next published tome is hard and demoralising work. My agent and I parted ways amicably after Londonia didn't become a Netflix series, and I've been going through the dreary process of hunting down another for a few months now for several months without success. Perhaps there is a message here, myself has been saying to myself. These summer months have been the most full on I can ever remember apart from my London styling days. Writing has been pushed back to a few blog posts and tentative starts at other books, as keeping our surrounding vegetation alive and completing our building project has taken over.

But it's ok. As the summer has dragged on in its fierceness - I can now see why Vivaldi hated the heat and accordingly stuffed the hot part of the Four Seasons with angry violins - helping the garden become a serious life support system for all the birds, butterflies and weeds of the area was at first tedious, then challenging and now a meaningful routine. 

As for the agent hunting. Is it worth it? when they all seem to be hunting the latest money spinning police series or escapist something. Maybe I'll just wait, put out the odd tentative feeler when climate reality smacks a bit harder. Hopeful dystopia must surely have a place on high street bookshelves . . .  or not. Time will tell.

When the garden, hopefully, comes off its us-life-support-system in the autumn, and the building work is rounded up into a fully functioning guest space maybe I'll properly start up the writing again. However, as I feel increasingly that things generally are not heading in a super direction, perhaps I'll go for a more artisan approach: handmade ink drawings, pen to hand-fabricated paper - not fingers on keyboard. Practice what you preach? Twelve years or so going on about speculative and mostly dystopian futures . . . maybe it's time to write in a way that my characters might, small scale, human-made materials; a quieter and satirical peer into the world turmoil.

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