miércoles, 18 de marzo de 2009

Pretending Not To Be Me...

The latest on the book-front is that the second proofs are done and sent back to Salt. It took a while to corner all those devil-may-care commas etc that were lying in wait to shout ‘Can’t find me, I’m your gingerbread comma…’ It was nearly always a case of me saying ‘ok that’s done, but I won’t send it in just yet’ and I’d wait a day or so and then on that day or so I would re-read the whole book again just ‘to be sure, to be sure’ and sure enough, something out of place was always found….I was amazed at the two pages or so of changes I had listed.

I am now at the stage of ‘Lift-up-your-book-,only-it-is-not-your-book-and-you-are-not- you-, you-are-a-casual-reader-with-no-connections-to-the-author’ This is called ‘Fooling Oneself Briefly Into Thinking You Can Be Objective’ – yes, I want to pretend that it’s not me nor my book and try to eek out an objective opinion out of myself about my book – the talking-to-oneself approach goes something like this:

Two characters: Pretending-Not-To-Be-Me (PNTBM) and Me (M)

PNTBM That’s about Flamenco dancing, isn’t it?

M It is and it isn’t.

PNTBM For me it’s about Flamenco dancing, it has to be, can’t see what else it would be about.

M It does have another level too though.

PNTBM Isn’t one level good enough?

M Right-oh! What about that next one?

PNTBM That’s about sunglasses.

M Yes and …

PNTBM Like the inclusion of the song ‘Gimme, gimme, gimme, a home after mid-night’

M Does that fit ok with the idea of sunglasses and the dark and darkly comic stuff like that?

PNTBM Maybe – Madam X and incognito – didn’t you used to play a game of being Madam X when you were a kid and I remember you wore lucky-bag sunglasses and faked accents and tried to make your brothers believe that you were an elusive film star who just happened to be out for a walk in the country and decided to drop in on their sand-box while they were there with buckets and spades and not exactly open to the idea of a Madam X with sunglasses calling on them.

M (stamps foot and says something along the lines of:) Hey, PNTBM, pack it in, remember you know nothing about me, ‘Nothing’- stop slipping back into the M role – you are PNTBM and I am M. Let’s begin again…

(To be continued…)

* Normal, run-of-the-mill, first-book type of talk, isn't it? Do share if you have ever had anything to do with your own PNTBM character... : )

jueves, 5 de marzo de 2009

Mind, Match and Game to …the Inner-Critic

(Dick by the chimney)

(Hanging up the handbag)

It might be a slight exaggeration to say that ‘practically’ every spare minute I have is taken up with tasks all associated with the forthcoming book, but it sometimes feels like that... – I never knew it would be so time-consuming or that indeed I would end up working finger-to-bone to make sure that I get all the things on the ‘Salt - To Do’ list done in time for the book to be published in September. It’s like entering a totally new world – and I’m stalling and sinking and spinning and sending things flying and flying too...it is exciting even if I know that the part that I’m most looking forward to is just being able to get back to writing again – in the dark, incognito with the inner-critic safely tucked up in her bunk bed on the highest rung of my head-ladder…at the moment, she is in her element, high-fiving, high-dohing and generally whipping up a frenzy with her pointy ruler and red pen….saying ‘get to it, get to it’ as she snaps her snazzy fingers in front of my eyes…

Even in sleep, peace can be hard to come by – the other night I dreamt that the book title was no longer The Wrong Miracle but The Christmas Pig and that the cover consisted of a woodcutter and axe and a piglet with a look of terror on his face – my mission was to stop the publication of said-book as there were thousands of copies all flying out of the printers…luckily, in the nightmare, Salt came to the rescue – we had a massive bonfire to get rid of the The Christmas Pig books and started from scratch with The Wrong Miracle! Revealing or what…?

Another thing my inner-critic has made me do is reduce all capitals in ‘God’ to lower case letters – ‘god’. I’ve noticed that God does pop up in my poems quite a bit, but in very strange situations that are not at all God-like so in order not to cause consternation to my folks, I’ve ended up demoting ‘God’ so that ‘god’ won’t appear as …well, you know...irreverent or something... Is this a cowardly act? Should I stick to my poetry-guns and forget about my inner-critic?

So have others noticed weird things happening in the mind at pre-book stage? (or at any stage, actually…) And proofing – not my forté at all - I skive off whenever I can and when I'm at it, it's a consistent comma-alert act…(but colons are not getting a look-in…no way…) Just wondering what your experiences are if you're working up to having a book coming out or if you have a book out or whatever...what is it that you like least or best about it all? And is it worth it? (or should I just beg, steal or borrow a 1000 € and buy all the books myself and keep them in the basement, thus avoiding having to promote the book...? It's looking like a tempting option... (just joking, honestly!...; ))