What is that’s sung in that song at the end of Bugsy Malone? ‘You’re gonna be remembered for the things that you say and do!’ Yup… That’s true. After all… That’s all that is left when we’re nothing but old bones in the soil (or, eventually, dust or a cardboard box in the basement of a museum if we’re lucky.) Our faces and our personalities become enigmas, more or less. All that is left are our words and our achievements. Gosh that is a moribund start to an article isn’t it? There is a reason. A few days ago I had a bit of a mini moment and I started to wonder what I had actually done with my life… It ended with me making a list that included everything that could be regarded as ‘something,’ no matter how mundane or normal it seemed. Turns out I’ve done quite a bit that’s worth bragging about…
There has been a point this summer where rejection has become routine. I’ll check my inbox, see an email from an agent, read the usual text saying something along the lines of ‘thanks but it isn’t for us’ and then just move on, forget it and casually send out another to someone else. I kind of knew when I started that I was going to get a lot of rejections… It’s a competitive market and not everyone is going to be enthralled by my work. Second is the books I’ve been sending out. D.S Proctor is short (only about a hundred pages) and the Rebels is already published (albeit in e-book form). I knew they might not be what agents are looking for and whilst it stung at first, especially the very first rejection, I now take it all in my stride now and just send out another email whenever a rejection comes through. You can’t let it get you down. You just have to keep fighting and keep going.
They’re coming to the end of their gauntlet anyway, D.S Proctor and The Rebels. I’m a few weeks away from Max and Anna (Which may yet end up being called The Princess and The Spy… I haven’t decided yet) being finished and once I’ve edited it to an acceptable standard that will replace them. I’ll e-publish D.S Proctor (the only reason it hasn’t been publish yet is because it’s been making its way round the literary agencies of the UK) and Rebels will go back to being my underappreciated masterpiece (featuring such gold standard dialogue as ‘He meant the bathroom? I thought he was just talking limey shit!’) Somewhere in the future I’ll make sure that they’re published properly, along with the Dark Legend books (which I haven’t been sending out,) but with Max and Anna taking the fore they’ll have to go to the back seat.
It’s a book that has taken me by surprise, one I never planned to write just yet. I’ve had the characters around for a while- Anna, though older, made her debut when I started writing Charlie Fuller- Which I still haven’t finished by the way (Though he’s finally about to cross the border into Spain… Hooray!) and Max in an attempt to write a military based story (The Khyber) which I discarded. I’ve toyed before, coming up with various ideas about how they met, it was originally going to involve an opium den and be set entirely in and around Victorian London and she would be hiding from would be assassins in some sort of slum dwelling. But then the optician told me my eyesight had degraded by forty percent so I had to find some way of stopping them from degrading further… Cue one day a week without my computer and the subsequent need to do some work on that day to prevent me from getting bored. I started to write by hand and what resulted is a mostly light hearted romp around North Wales- The story of a Princess, hiding from a group of revolutionaries, and the man assigned to protect her.
It’s been the fastest book I’ve yet written- I seem to write more when doing it by hand, it appears. And it is quite fitting that I should finish the book at around the same time as the summer ends and the leaves start to turn… And (with a fair amount of hope) this will be my last summer in this dump so it will forever be a reminder of that, a good reminder of how I got out from this place. My next hand written book is already in the planning stages… I don’t want to say too much about it yet except that the plan is stupidly detailed, as a matter of necessity. The main plot is another one that’s been floating in my mind for a while but the idea behind what I want to do with it (and the reason why the plan needs to be stupidly detailed) is another product of the summer.
It hasn’t been a great summer in all. The only adventure I had was right at the start when I tripped off to Bangor and the mountains for a few days and the weather has been more than a bit foul for the rest of it. Most of the time I’ve been stuck inside, dreaming of the future and the places I might soon be able to go… Copenhagen and Florence have been occupying my mind for the last week though I’ll still probably try Dublin first. It hasn’t been a great summer but it has been one that, despite those rejections, has had some good results… The winter ahead may be a long one but the summer has provided fruits that I may yet feast on for years to come.
I decided that I would try and look for my DVD copy of The Time Machine. I’d read the book not so long ago and I thought I’d like to watch the film again, compare the two. And I mean the decent film from the sixties and not the rubbish modern one with Guy Pierce and Samantha Mumba (Remember her? She certainly dropped off the radar didn’t she!). I am convinced there is a black hole somewhere in this room as things tend to vanish- I still haven’t found those Narnia books that were definitely under the bed before I went to university but luckily, this time, I found what I was looking for in a box under my desk. And with it, a few old favourite video games of mine- Theme Hospital, Master of Olympus and Pharaoh. They were all ‘best seller’ copies and I had a vague recollection of why they were in the box… They wouldn’t install on my laptop. But I didn’t let that stop me from taking them out and trying to run them once more.