Saturday, 29 December 2012
Victims and survivors
Last Christmas was one of the best I’ve had for a long while, whereas this year it was really hard. I was looking forward to it, but on Christmas Eve morning a load of gremlins crept into my pillow and took up residence and as a result I had a very soggy time. (I was talking to a friend later and said, “don’t you find crying makes you terribly hungry?” She laughed. “Sue. Everything makes you hungry.” She has a point.)
Anyway, I’d just about struggled through the Festive Season, tearing down my Christmas cards in a fit of weeping rage, swearing that next year I will go away and not have anything to do with it, when Boxing Day came along and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Then on Friday 28th I had a very cheering phone call from a dear friend, and came back home feeling happy for the first time in a while. Turned on the computer and saw an email from the agent who was so keen on my novel. I almost didn’t have the nerve to read it, but of course I had to. And it’s a No.
While I had sort of been expecting this – or preparing myself for this – the reality is hard to deal with. It’s like dealing with an abusive lover who kicks you in the stomach, gives you a black eye, then turns round and says, “Sorry, darling.” So you try harder next time. And still they beat you up. You weep, rocking and clutching the pain and wondering what it is about you (or the novel in this case) that isn’t right. And still you keep going back. (I would add that this has never happened to me, in case you’re worrying, but it has to one of my best friends.)
I’ve had some lovely messages of support: Nik said that every time I get closer and closer and there must be the right agent out there. It’s just a matter of finding them, which I will. Deb said, “I couldn’t do it, Sue. I don’t have your perseverance, your tenacity,” as I wept down the phone displaying neither of these characteristics. And Christy said, “this happened to me, Sue. But I’ve read your writing. It isn’t you. Hang on in there,” which made me burst into tears again.
I’ve read several books recently, but none of them are ones that I’ve really thought, “wow!”. So I think this must be what it’s like to be an agent. You can read a book and think, well, there’s nothing wrong with it. I just haven’t fallen in love with it. So I need to find the right agent who will.
Life tends to kick you in the teeth when you least expect it, or are able to deal with it. But listening to a programme about victims and survivors this morning on Radio 4 made me think, I refuse to be a victim. I’ll weep and wail, have a few drinks and start over again. I won’t give in.
So I leave 2012 on a downer. But it means I can start 2013 afresh. I shall be boating again shortly (hooray), I’ve got some lovely things to look forward to - a sailing trip on a Tall Ship being one – and will send my novel out again to another agent. Someone, somewhere, must fall in love with us.