Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Okay, so I didn’t shave that day.
Sitting in a cold, dark garret day after day scribbling for ones living can leave a writer feeling desolate and alone. Sure, you could wander down to Ye Olde Taverne on an evening and cavort and gambol with one’s wastrel acquaintances, but that takes money and leaves the writer feeling enervated and alone once a return has been made, climbing the five flights up winding and narrow stairs to light a candle and work once again on ones magnum opus.

In other words, writing can sometimes be a big pain in the patootie.

On a beautiful day, sitting inside wrestling with prose that just won’t flow can seem like you’ve been condemned to perpetually doing homework. The hurry up and wait aspect of writing is also No Fun. Sure, we can complain to friends about the things we have to go through (as I am now with you), but in the end living the writer’s life is a self-inflicted decision. Publish or perish? Sometimes I wonder weather the latter isn’t preferable to the former, especially when the once-a-year royalty cheque arrives.

Then something unexpected and wonderful occurs to lift one’s depression.

That happened to me last week when my wife stepped into my home office to stop me practising trumpet (a very LOUD experience for onlookers and one that always forces our cat to cry piteously at the back door).

“What the #$%$^@ did you order?” she asked.

I paused from my efforts to play a steady F above high C (an awesome thing to witness).


“Didn’t you hear the delivery man knock?” Looking at the musical instrument in my hand, she added, “No. I guess not.”

“So what arrived?”

“It feels like a box of books. You sure you didn’t order some?”


Then it dawned on me and stepping into the living room to look at the carton confirmed it. Author copies of my new novel, Roses for a Diva, had appeared, completely unexpectedly — as they often do.

Grabbing a razor knife which I had been tempted to use on my wrists earlier in the day, I quickly opened the carton, removed those air packets used these days for shipping, and there it was: the latest addition to my literary family.

“We should take a photo for Facebook,” my long-suffering wife observed as she thumbed through one of my babies.

So we trooped out into our backyard and I held up three of them, beaming like a fool and feeling on top of the world.

Holding one’s new book is an indescribable feeling, even if it’s the tenth time (in my case) that you’ve done experienced it. For the moment, you can bask in a feeling of real accomplishment. Yeah, there will be bad days coming when you get a particularly harsh review, or you stand behind a table at a bookstore, ignored by the entire world. Then there’s my particular favourite: someone picks up your book at a signing, glances for a moment at the back cover’s description of what lies within, and quickly puts it down with a muttered, “Oh, I don’t think I’d want to read something like that!” As Inigo Montoya would say about launching a new book, “Humiliations galore!” That’s going to be visited on me soon enough.

But for the moment, life is good.

1 comment:

Eileen Goudge said...

Congrats, Rick! It's a wonderful feeling opening that first box of books. And what a beautiful sight it is. Enjoy every minute of it :)