Thursday, 24 September 2015

Me and Bernard Socks


Oh dear, it's being a tricky time in all sorts of ways!  Poor Bernard Socks has been ill, and has had to undergo a big and rather serious operation at Mr Joe's the hairdresser / vet's. He's recovering with a line of rather fine stitches on his belly right now, and as we wait for his various test results, he is being confined to barracks... Which means that I'm confined with him, working on my writing and drawings in the bedroom.

Socks is crazy to get outside and run about the garden and all around the other gardens of our street. He loves clambering on the roof of the Beach House and next door's garage, and bombing about the place doing his usual routines. Autumn is especially interesting, of course, and I guess he feels like he's missing it all, to judge by the way he's yelling at us both to be let out. But it's no good. Inside he must stay until we're told otherwise by Mr Joe!

It's a tricky time too, because my literary agent has decided she doesn't want to represent my books. She's a newish agent, who I was passed onto when my real agent started a new job in a different area. The new one thinks she'd find me a difficult sell due to my quirkiness and originality. I'd always rather hoped both those things were two of my selling points..! But here I go, anyway - starting from square one again. It's twenty years since I was first a professional, published author, and almost exactly twenty years since my first novel came out. It feels a bit of a shame to be back looking for an agent again, but you've just got to carry on hoping for the best and getting on with your work.

If there's anything I've learned in the past twenty years of hard slog - it's that. Keep going and keep at it. And don't let calamities and disasters and other people put you off...

First, though, we have to get Socks better and back to full health. And, all around us, all the while, the men are rebuilding and redecorating various bits of our house. (It's a long story, going back exactly two years, all to do with ceilings in our house brought down smashing about our ears...) So there's lots of banging and crashing and raised voices - and more reasons for Socks to be kept here in this sunny oasis of the bedroom.

These are my most recent drawings. I've gone completely cartoonized this week..! Here I am, both writing and drawing in confined spaces, all with the help of the wonderful and remarkable Bernard Socks.

My biggest book recommendation of the moment is Julia Child's 'My Life in France', a memoir about cooking and going on the telly and bombing about the place having fun. I loved reading this so much I spent almost two weeks with it - which is unheard of, for me. I also loved rereading Natalie Goldberg's very inspirational book about drawing and painting, 'Living Colour.' Right now I'm returning to her most recent book about writing, 'The True Secret of Writing.' I know I've writing friends who think she's just a dipshit hippy, but I love her books anyway.

Hope you're all well!


9 comments:

  1. There is enough material right there for a book, I'd say. First, your newbie agent frakked up; she'll regret her decision. Second, I presume you are looking for a new UK agent, but I am wondering if an agent in the US would do you any good? I'm hardly in any position to make that happen, but I do know some people at Tor... I could inquire further.... Or, what are your thoughts about self-publishing on Amazon? (kind of sounds like a euphemism, ha) Last, and most importantly, Good Luck to Bernard Socks, I hope he recovers swiftly. And good luck to you and Jeremy with the house.

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    1. Hi Aaron, I tried out the Amazon / Createspace model at the beginning of the year, just to see what it was like. Did you miss 'Mrs Danby and Company...' ? :)

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  2. Get well soon, Bernard. Sorry to hear your news about agent. Rather depressing that a literary agent doesn't think quirkiness and originality are good things. Thanks for the Julia Child recommendation. It's something I've been meaning to read for a long time, so must find a copy.

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    1. Thanks, Margaret! The Julia Child book is wonderful. A lovely companion to 'Julie and Julia'.

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  4. Lovely drawing, Paul. So sorry to hear about the agent; I can't understand her decision, especially in the light of your record as a published author. It makes no sense at all.

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  5. I agree totally with the above...sadly I am not as eloquent! I was just going to say...I buy and love your books.I also love your art. When and if a draw myself out of a financial crisis I will buy an original...hold on lovely.

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    1. Thanks, Sally! You're a great supporter, and you have wonderful taste...!

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