And so, suddenly, things seem a bit more…
What’s the word?
Proper Mint? How.
Well yeah, I think that does it. Proper Mint. How.
Because it’s been a very, very exciting week for me.
I’ve struggled, quite a bit really, since I found out I was getting published. I was chuffed, obviously. Grinning secretly between lessons and when no one was looking. I had, whilst writing 9987, planned great things for the day I got THAT phone call, received THAT letter, heard THAT news.
But when it happened I felt, well, I dunno. I was excited, ecstatic, euphoric, erudite (ran out of ‘e’ words there, went for a fairly poor English Teacher joke here…). Strangely though, amongst people, even amongst friends, I felt embarrassed. It just felt too… distant. Too flimsy. Too much time for something to go wrong.
Somewhere in the back of my head a withered, grey haired little man, stroking his beard sadly and sucking at the gaps between his teeth. He was shaking his head a lot and cackling at moments of publishing related excitement.
Even when I saw the cover, I was dubious.
Even when I had the t-shirts sorted, I was reluctant to relax.
I have been widely ridiculed for my inability to answer simple questions about my own book. I have blushed at the mention of Lesbian Nurses.
This week has been different.
This week has been kick ass cool.
This week I’ve felt like a writer.
It all began in the Bath…
I was invited, quite a while ago actually, to go down to Bath Spa University. (MY university. Oh yes. And a very nice one it is too. It has muffin stealing squirrels.) They wanted me to have a chat with some undergrads doing the Creative Studies in English Degree. The one I was doing when I started writing 9987. So I went.
There were some niggling problems. Getting up at five in the morning to catch the plane (oh yes, quite the jetsetter me), the fact that someone had moved the Students Union (and the truly terrifying fact that when I found it at 3:30 no one was drinking. At all. Soft drinks all round. Muchos disturbing, I fear for the students of today.) and of course, a slight problem that the group of students I was expecting to chat to were slightly larger (in number, not stature) and in a slightly more formal setting that I was prepared for.
So I walk into a lecture theatre facing one hundred and eighty people. Some were making notes. Some had laptops out. One may have been sleeping.
Luckily I HAD been drinking in the Students Union.
So. I talked about Prostitutes. I discussed Magical Pub toilets and alternative routes to Narnia. I did a little Hula Dance to demonstrate rhythmic prose. It was most successful.
Oh. And I failed completely, twice, to answer the question – Why was the book originally titled Lesbian Nurses?
Cos I’m mint.
But, hey, it was fun. Then Carrie Etter, poet, lecturer, pint buyer, took me for a drink. Which I felt I needed.
Then BIG things happened.
Then I got an email.
Then I took a drive.
Then I collected a pile of books.
And all of them,
Each and every single one of them,
Had my name on.
Ten, count’em, ten pristine, ever so pretty and real and strokable and actual copies of my actual book.
They’ve got pages and words in and everything.
And, suddenly, I found it a bit easier to talk about it.
I found it strangely exhilarating to show it to people.
I acted a bit smug, and I think I had a licence to.
I am so very, very chuffed. How.
(and no, before you ask, yo ucan't have one of the ten copies. They've all been given out. The first one to someone who makes me grin. The rest to people of various import after. And Caroline got a special one from the publishers. So sorry kids, all gone.)
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