Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Reading Between The Lines...?

So, does the release of every book make you feel like this or is it just the first?

My debut novel, Recycling Jimmy is all but finished now and soon it will be packaged up and shipped from Kunati’s safe hands to be delivered into the probing clutches of the reviewers. Only now, having finally reached this milestone (intangible less than twelve months ago), have I been forced to consider what lies beyond. You see, whilst I was writing I always believed that I was pretty much well prepared for the day when my work would be thumbed and judged by strangers. How wrong was I! I tell you, it’s no exaggeration to say that the buzz in my gut is as real and nagging as it was the day that I handed my four year old son over in to the care of the local headmaster for his first day at school (my son's first day that is, not the headmaster.)

‘Be good, be polite and do as you’re told and everything’ll be fine, son.’ was just about the only advice I could muster as I led him across the playground. Thinking back, I suppose what I really meant to warn him was ‘Listen boy, me and your mum live round here so if you dare show me up, they’ll be bloody trouble.’

And that’s the truth of it isn’t it? Okay, I’m not putting this desire that I have for Recycling Jimmy to succeed on the same level as the paternal instincts I have for my kids (not a chance) but there is a similarity here and for me at least, this is it; both my son and my book, having been created by me, are representative of me to people who I will never meet. Realising this leads me to the conclusion that perhaps it isn’t so much the fact of my work being critiqued that I find unnerving but more that people may find reason in my words to judge me as person. Is it possible that some violent street thug would read about Jimmy as he films Darren Howard falling to his death (disguised as a giant rabbit) and then shout to his mate across the pub, ‘Hey Jonesy! I tell ya, who ever thought this up is one sick mutha. Our kind of people mate.’ Or will the doctor’s receptionist, sit quietly reading on her break, look at my photo on the dust jacket from time to time and imagine me as the kind of bloke that gets a kick from engineering comedy suicides?

Who cares if someone doesn’t like the prose or finds the dialogue cumbersome (part of the territory when we launch ourselves as writers), but if that same someone read my words and labelled me as a darkly twisted individual….ouch.

Then again, they could be bang on the money….I did write it after all. ))))

1 comment:

Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song said...

I so hear ya, Andy! After all, have you read some of the short stories I've written lately? I mean, Whale Song is my heart book, sweet, beautiful, sad...and like you, I think of all my novels as my 'baby' or 'child'. We do have a lot invested in them and we want to see them grow and succeed...but they do sometimes give us grief.

Yet, lately I've been slipping back to the 'dark side'--more suspense laced with a bit of horror. I've killed off mothers so many times my own mother is starting to get a complex and I'm sure people are wondering if she's even alive. Uh...yes, she is. Really!

No one has mourned the loss of the abusive characters I've killed. Ok, so people die in my books--does that make me a murderer?

Yeah, people may judge us by what we write, but then they'll miss seeing what wonderfully sweet people we can be...when we aren't burning people alive in sheds or poisoning them. :)

To being writers with crazy imaginations!!! Cheers!

Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
author of Whale Song, Divine Intervention and The River