Today I received the typeset proofs of my very own book. And I quickly discovered why books are bound. My printer printed out one hundred and seventy something pages and spilled them on the study floor in no particular order... very helpful!
It is an extraordinary thing, to hold something like this...a wodge of words, and they are all your own.
It did two things to my head... it made it more likely that I may at some point in the future, have a novel in my hands that is also mine. After all, if I can write this many pages... pah! But in truth, will the novel give me as much pleasure as I have had over the last few years? I doubt it. It's been quite a roller-coaster, and one can't live without ups n downs, can one!
But it also made me think... how very very lucky I am to have this collection coming out from Salt. How so many excellent writers specialising in the short forms of fiction never get to see this happen.
Maybe Salt and its faith in the power of the short form will engineer in part a turnround in the fortunes of those who 'only write shorts'.
I was having lunch with a friend today, and she asked how the writing was going. The conversation went like this:
"So how's it going then?"
"Good, at the moment. I have my first book coming out in March."
"The novel? Oh good!"
"Er.. no. That is a long way off! This is the short story collection."
"Oh right. So when do you think the novel will be ready?"
It IS extraordinary. This friend had just been bewailing that her time for reading was very tight, and that she did sometimes buy short story collections, in order to read a complete piece before bed.
But it must be sexier to know a novelist, rather then a short story writer!
However. I now have the job of going through the proofs with a fine toothcomb to see if there are typos and so forth. If there are it will be my own silly fault, for sending imperfect files through in the first place!