There has been a bit of radio silence from me. You’ve not had any writing because I’ve been writing.
As you, dedicated reader, may recall, what sustained me through the dreadful years of being a carer for my demented mother, was the hope that at the end of the awfulness there would be time for me. I joined sculpture classes and began to write a comic novel in the summer of 2017 and then broke my arm. It was the second worst break in the history of the local hospital and it looked for a while as though I might end up unibrasular, which, as it was my right arm and I am right handed, was a bit unfortunate. But I hardly had time to lament my one handedness when I was diagnosed with cancer, for which I had surgery in January 2018, which was bungled, leaving me with multiple adhesions to my intestines, which were not working, and only diagnosed after ten hospital readmissions.
Nevertheless, howsumdeavor, and heyupmelad, I kept writing. I did it in my head until hours and hours of arm exercises meant I could actually operate the keyboard again, more than one finger at a time. I bashed away until I had a novel.
Unfortunately, as this was the start of lockdown, everyone else and his dog was writing their novel. Literary agents were swamped in a backwash of surprise creativity.
All the advice is to submit to numerous agencies at once. That’s probably professional but it isn’t me. Many agencies no longer even bother rejecting you. If you haven’t heard back in ten weeks you assume they do not want you. You polish up your manuscript again, write a new letter, check the synopsis is still good enough, compare yourself to several other writers, which I find almost impossible, and send a little lonely extract off into the darkness to wait its time being turned away. Eventually you start whistling ‘Buddy can you spare a dime?’, wearing a flat cap and kicking a tin can along a gutter.
Two years later you decide on a big edit, a major carwash and polish, including the glove box and the wheel rims and that is what I’ve been doing.
The friend who died, who was carer for her husband, asked me if I would let her read the manuscript of any book I had written. She was a fan of my funny columns in the hobby magazine. I always promised she would get the first copy.
So that won’t happen. Neither, if I ever get it published will I be able to send a copy to my cousin, who I still miss, and I won’t be able to read it with the cat on my knee. The OH will never read it; he’s married to the author.
However, having cleaned its ears and sent it off again, I am about to embark on some sculpture. There’s a big block of stone in the garden with the old shower curtain draped over it, as you do. I’ll let you know how I get on.
And if the novel ever makes it, I’ll let you know about that too.
Winners never quit, quitters never win. Failure only exists when you stop trying. There are more wise sayings about keeping going than there are sports coaches in the world, possibly.
My next door neighbour is the local hospital orthopaedic surgeon for legs. Although it was he who recommended I wait for the surgeon who did major arm injuries for rugby players, after the surgery his wife said: well, we are all disabled now. I think trying to show solidarity.
Howsumdeavor, our kid, what I have actually turned out to be is ambidextrous, which is handy for lifting, typing, shopping and maybe sculpture, I’ll let you know. And it’s good for your brain, it gets the blood going in different circles, always helpful for any sort of art.
And you can hold an ice cream in each hand, come the hot weather.