. . . comes the muck cart, as my Grandfather Spink used to say.
Since you’re reading this, you’re probably aware I won the Ouen Press Short Story Prize. I now have two copies of the actual anthology – and some rather shiny postcards. Which is nice.
I have been most touched by the praise and congratulations that my SCBWI, Arvon, Golden Egg Academy and other writing pals have given me. It’s been a buzz – and I loved having all the validation and support.
But after the celebrations comes the clearing-up to paraphrase my grandfather’s Leeds Loiner expression. Those of you who write know the story rhythm of fortunately / unfortunately . I expect most readers and editors do too. So here’s my Unfortunately . . . part.
I am so aware of how small an achievement it is. I realise how old I am and how long I’ve been trying. The effort-to-success ratio is dire.
Sorry about the earworm and the ads – but I am haunted by this song.
Oh, I do attempt to reason with myself. To lecture the greedy ambitious little soul inside that it’s not about sales or recognition. She’s not convinced. But I am also addicted to being noticed. Social media is a blessing (I get to chat with folk like you who love stories) and a curse. My hopes and need for company lead me to hours of distraction.
But my moment has faded away. People have rightly moved on. There are far more important and interesting things out there – and there always will be. I’m chasing fantasies.
To reveal more than is strictly necessary, I have always found listening to praise difficult. I tend to fall apart afterwards. Whether it is fear of success and what that might mean, or some warped concept of how much better I should have been by now, I don’t know.
On the more compassionate side, it might be an innate recognition that it is the creation that matters. That neither praise, nor rejection, can fully acknowledge the new thing that has come to be.
For that, I need a co-creator. My words on their own are nothing. They need you to give them life with your imagination.
So whatever happens, I’ll carry on writing for you.
Completely recognise this. All of it. And it seems to me that it never gets easier and every step of the way there is a new dissatisfaction to bear – competition win but no agent; agent but no publishing deal; published but no sales; sales but not enough; big sales and only one place to go… and then a new book and it starts over. And the best bits have to be the creating, and afterwards if we are lucky the being read. And the pain is greater on balance than the praise… but still we do it… because we need to be creative and we need to speak. And though we also need to be listened to (read) that is not a given. Hang in there and keep doing the best bits.
Thank you Douglas for your kind, thoughtful and articulate reply.
Thank you for carrying on. It is a slow enabling, but your talent will only continue to blossom if you carry on. Respect and love.
Much appreciated from you, Candy. Thank you.