Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Poetry readings, chocolate muffins and rhinos.

I was due to travel down to London this weekend for the Penned in the Margins radio show, but recently found out that it's 'resting' for a few months, so I'll have to content myself with the local action, plus an eagerly-awaited Cambridge reading in April and a trip to Whitechapel on May 3rd to read at the Whitechapel Gallery there. I have to admit to keenly looking forward to the Cambridge trip in particular because it will give me an excuse to use my membership cards for Mickey Flynns, the Cambridge-based independent 9-ball pool club!

This may seem a trivial thing to a non-player, but the Uk pool market is more or less dominated by a series of large chains, mostly Rileys - even some of the smaller chains appear to be owned by Rileys, simply operating under another name, so there's not much to choose between any of these UK chain-owned clubs in terms of variety and a different approach to marketing cue sports. In other words, independent clubs are few and far between, and it's always a pleasure to visit one whenever I can. Which isn't very often, as the Midlands - where I currently live - is dominated by Rileys clubs.

But I digress.

So I'm off to do those poetry readings later this spring, and there are a few other interesting gigs lined up too, notably a Reading-based monthly poetry night run by AF Harrold, which I'll be 'doing' in June. I'm also hoping to organise a bookshop reading in a few months' time, but I was ill last week, which kept me away from such business matters due to a loss of voice, and now I keep forgetting to ring the bookshop owner to thrash out the details.

Such organisational skills! Tomorrow, Peter, honestly.

I've also forced myself to seriously re-write - ahem, this is now about my fifth serious re-write on this - the first few chapters of my children's fantasy novel, basically with an eye to sending it off in the next few days to another prospective agent. I've actually only sent this manuscript out three times so far, which means it could still be early days!

But I do get dreadfully knocked back when agents show absolutely no interest in my work and so assume that the book - or whatever - must be dire and only worthy of being binned. But, of course, it may not be. I have to clng to that hope, gird my loins, do some re-writes where I feel necessary, and send the blessed thing out again to another victim. I mean, agent.

The rejection knock takes a few months out of me, in terms of being able to work with confidence, while I recover. Such a long time! Then I tell myself nice things and start the horrible process again.

But at this rate it could take years to place this novel. Maybe decades. And with the amount of doughnuts and double chocolate muffins I'm eating to cope with the stress of it all, I may not have decades! So I have to be strong and make sure that, when/if I get another rejection at this attempt, I will dust myself off more rapidly and get the sample chapters and synopsis out again to another agent within days rather than months.

I'm beginning to think successful writers need to have hides like rhinos. Either that or be completely naive. Now which would I prefer?

Head down, horn up.

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