Funny time, this.
The revised book is out and about, with various editors at houses both in New York and London. I am discovering new reserves of patience. This, oddly, isn’t as difficult as I would have imagined. I wouldn’t say I’ve suddenly gone all Zen (stop laughing at the back), but after this many years of effort, a few more weeks here and there can’t hurt. So each morning I gaze at my empty inbox, devoid of exciting news, and feel calm. Well, calmish. After all, no news isn’t bad news.
The one fly in the proverbial ointment is that without knowing what’s happening with this book, I feel reluctant to commit myself fully to the next one just yet. I have been scribbling away in my little notebook and reading all sorts of strange stuff in the name of research (such as this and this.) It fun to discover the themes as they slowly emerge from the morass of ideas swirling about in my head, but I’m reluctant to sit down at the computer just yet and try to put any of it down. I prefer to leave everything amorphous as long as I can. Once I start pinning ideas down, I can almost feel the sense of infinite possibility ebb away. At some point choices need to be made; but not yet, please, not yet…
Which brings me to my point, ladies and gentlemen. Consider, if you will, Exhibit 1, below:
Jenkins is a lucky man, and so am I. One of the joys of writing THE SONGS OF OUR FATHERS has been that telling stories has become a hobby again. I was a full-time writer for four or five years, and it’s fair to say that they were the not the happiest years of my life. Writing books is bloody hard work, but it’s even tougher if you’re reckless enough to try and make a living out of it. But I have another job, now. (Actually, I have two. This is my other job.) These days I may only get to write for a couple of hours a day, but those two hours are a lot more fun than when I had to struggle on for the whole day. I recently gave a talk to the Missouri Writers’ Guild about being a professional when you sit down to write, and all of the stuff I talked about will always hold true, but paradoxically I am reveling in being an amateur again. And let’s not forget the etymology of the word – you all did Latin, right? – it comes from amare, to love.
I’ve rediscovered my love for just telling stories. It’s still bloody hard work, but it’s not a job any more. It’s a joy, an escape. If we don’t find a publisher, I’ll just get to work on the next one. And, of course, I’ll still have my pole dancing to fall back on.