To the lovely man in Oxford Street who said ‘You wrote this?’ (checks photo) ‘I was just saying to my friend that I could have written this …’
Thank you so much, but I think what you meant was ‘I wish I’d thought of this.’ And I’m very flattered. I’m glad you thought it was a neat idea for a story. I wasn’t sure while I was writing it. I knew I liked it, but I thought everyone else would think I was mad. And when you get to read the whole thing, as I hope you do, I hope you think I did justice to that story. It took me 34 drafts, and 30 years of wanting to write a story like that, and 20 years of trying really quite hard.
Which is why I enjoyed this post from Kiersten White.
I’m so excited when people tell me they want to write. It’s the most wonderful thing to try and do and, as I frequently say here, The Best Job In The World.
Write, go on, write! You know you want to. But please don’t tell me that despite your career as an interior designer/lawyer/chef you intend to run off a little something you’ve had at the back of your mind and have it published by Christmas. Because it will make me very jealous. It took me ages. And I still think I was incredibly lucky.
Having said that, I heard on the radio this week about a cookery writer who met a literary agent at a party in the sixties and said something like ‘Oh great. It’s your lucky day. I’ve got this idea for a book ..’.
The agent blanched. The process took a while. But the book was The Ipcress File. The cookery writer was Len Deighton. Sometimes, these people are right, dammit.