Monday, 1 December 2008

Holding My Book. Dancing A Hula. Misplacing A Student Union.

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.

But then.

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.)


Vix said...

The book is very pretty. The pages contain words that are both great and disturbing. Its quite like its author really. Apart from the pretty bit. (hehehehe manlyey handsome more like it eh?) xxx

B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B said...

Mine still has not turned up! and i ordered it nearly a week ago. i am getting frustrated. But will live. Just ups the anticipation, no?

Also, why WAS the book originally called lesbian nurses? was it just for the google hits????

glad it went so well. i am muchos excited for you x

KatW said...

Well done on the lecture & the book - what a fantastic feeling to hold your published book (I imagine as am still very much unpublished - but my fantasty is very real).
Very chuffed for you! (chuffed? - not a word you here much anymore)
Kat :-)

P.S. I am most shocked that the students were not drinking at such a late hour. How times have changed!

watching9987 said...

Vix - hehe, yes. It's true. I am particulary manlyey handsome, this is very true. (And I'm really pleased you enjoyed the book xx)

B- Ho No! (In slightly offence MexiCan style) Did you order from Tonto? Cos if it was Amazon it'll not be with you til January...

And I'm not telling. Although the Google hits would have been impressive...

Kat - Muchos Gracias, how. I'm soooo very pleased with myself, the reality is as good as the fantasy, as I hope you'll discover soon enough.

But yes, non drinking students. No wonder the world is going mad...

Caroline said...

Think post made me smile :)

My copy is next to me at all times, look ...


B said...

I emailed them. Second class! I never thought of that. I am far too impatient. But they said there is a lil something extra so I don't mind them making me wait :) oh and yeah i ordered through tonto. i always wait to see who will get these things to me fastest!

Megan said...

Well, bloody hurray to you sir
( :

Roz Wyllie said...

Hurrah for you.

May your novel sell thousands and thousands and thousands...etc xxx

B said...

I has read your book.

Is muchos disturbing.

But muchos good.

Although I think you were cheating when you said there was a zombie.

But I'm still gonna get D to read. Oh yes.

(also damn you for stealing my day. damn you, sir!)

DJ Kirkby said...

I am holding a copy of your book too (yes while I am typing) and I am enjoying it very much! I am so happy to now understand the 'Lesbian Nurses' reference. I have laughed several times so far(was I supposed to?) xo

B said...

DJ I was also pleased to understand '9987' and why this blog is called watching 9987 - as well as the Lesbian Nurses thing.

watching9987 said...

Megan - Thank you thank you, I've said it geet loads, and i'll say it geet loads more. I. Am. So. Very. Chuffed.

Roz - Me too, single handedly we could save the publishing industry - you up for it?

Caroline - Shall I now admit my new fear? That people might actually be reading it...

DJ - Wow - see, someone IS reading it, and presumably enjoying it. And yes, it's ok to laugh, I reckon it's a bit of a Black Comedy. Others disagree...

And B - Cheating you with the zombie maybe, but it sold a copy (yes, I'm really that underhand).

Glad you liked it. Can I just point out though - It's not about ME!!! Really honestly. It's not. Really.

B said...

yes yes i do realise that. although i am still a little worried. all that stuff they say about your characters coming from your own subconscious? your subconscious is a very scary place to be *backs away slowly without breaking eye contact before making a dash for the door*

although i also love Val McDermid who (look away those with a squeamish side, including me, this one really made me sick, d'you think i've given anyone squeamish enough time to look away? i think so) in one of her books cut off a writer's head and put it in her freezer.the writer's freezer, not her own. that would have been going too far. but i've only met val mcd once and she's not going out with one of my bestest friends. soooo, anyway....

i should stop really learn when to stop typing, no?

B said...

and it was you that entitled your blogage 'watching 9987' too so you asked for it ;o)