A fan

I had a lovely thing happen to me this morning. I got a message from a “fan”. The delightful thing is that I don’t know this person at all. They said how much they enjoyed my book, Beast-speaker, and said they’re looking forward to book two. Now, I’ve had similar messages before but this was the first one from a complete stranger. A complete stranger! On one or two occasions I’ve sent a little message to an author whose work I particularly value. Each time I’ve had a moment of hesitation when I’ve thought, “Hold on. Is this just a little bit stalker-ish?” Thankfully, each time, the recipient of my little epistle was gracious and friendly. (Phew!) Now I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end, and it’s great. Maybe, once you’ve had as many books published and have as many fans as Stephen King has, you become a little more matter of fact about it all but at the moment bluebirds are definitely chirping on my shoulder. I often struggle with the thought, “Am I kidding myself? Should I be persevering with this writing game or not?” And then along comes something like this morning’s email, or someone says something encouraging, or I sell another copy of my book, and I think, “Maybe I’m not so bad at this, after all!” I remember meeting one of my author heroes at a writing thing a few years back. I was so excited. I lined up with all the other star-struck sycophants, clutching a book I’d just bought for the author to sign. When I got to the table I said something to the person (I probably gushed a tad bit) and was immediately struck dumb by the author’s acerbic, slightly biting reply. Ok, I’ll be honest with you: they were just plain rude. My little balloon of giddy happiness popped and all the joy immediately left the room. I wanted to apologise for wasting their time but I thought that might sound sarcastic (which it was) so I didn’t. Later that day I told myself the person was probably tired, or hormonal, or had a whiffy tummy from eating something off at lunch. And, I promised myself that when (if) I ever had fans of my own, I would do my utmost to always be gracious and kind. So far it’s going well but, then again, I’ve not yet been inundated on a large scale. Have you even written some fan mail? Have you ever received some fan mail? Am I allowed to be a bit thrilled or am I in danger of being overcome with hubris? I value your...

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I have seen the future

Sorry I missed posting last week due to illness. I’d like to thank you all for your concerned emails but as I didn’t get any I’ll just move on. Do any of you watch The Block? (Australian TV show in which contestants are taken to an apartment block that only has the framework left, and they compete by building and decorating one or two rooms a week.) The last time I watched it (I’ve been ill, you know) they revealed the living and dining rooms. One couple have constructed a “library” on one of the living room walls. I think it is fantastic, apart from being a bit small. The judges loved it. One said it was the first time he’d seen bookshelves “styled correctly”. I gather we’re supposed to group the books according to the colour of the  covers. Learn something new every day. When the other competitors checked it out, it didn’t seem to impress. Some were rather bemused at the idea of having to watch the television surrounded by “all those boxes”. One couple said, “What’s the point? How many books do we have in our home? Two?” At first I thought, Way to show your ignorance on public television. Then I felt a cold draught on my neck and a dark shadow slid overhead. A small voice in the back of my mind whispered, You have seen the future. Be afraid. Be very afraid.  Please, tell me it isn’t so!  ...

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Dreams are weird

I find the phenomenon of dreams quite fascinating. Some people dream only occasionally, while others dream a lot. I dream every night and, quite often, I have several dreams during the one night. Most of the time they’re interesting, exciting and colourful. I rarely have a nightmare, although there have been the occasional few that have made me wake up, gasping in fright. I’ve never dreamt I was flying, even though that’s supposed to be one of the most common. Nor have I dreamed of being naked in a public place, another common dream. (What is wrong with you people?!!) I gather the common view is that dreams are the product of our subconscious minds working on our “issues”, while we sleep. (Again, seriously, some of you need therapy.) There have been numerous occasions when I have understood, almost immediately, what has prompted the night’s foray into dreamland. But then there are dreams like the one I had last night. I was at some sort of conference/fair/Big Day Out. I was there as an ageing rock star, with literary aspirations. I performed twice. The second time there were only half as many people in the audience. I told myself it was because of everything else going on at the show, and not a comment on my performance. I spent the rest of the time hanging around with Fiona McIntosh (one of Australia’s most prolific and successful authors). I was surprised at how much we had in common. We spent a lot of time visiting the ladies in the craft exhibition, making sure they all had cups of tea. The dream ended with the scandalous news that one of the construction workers (they were still building parts of the centre) had smuggled in a gun and had “shot a whore” with it. That’s the wording used by the person telling me and Fiona the news. Although I didn’t say it in the dream I guess, technically, it was me saying it, via my subconscious. I remember thinking how chuffed I was that Fiona and I got on so well. Earlier this year (this is true) she took a group of fans on a tour of the lavender fields of France, as a sort of promo for her latest book. My last royalty cheque didn’t quite cover the cost of my weekly grocery bill. I write that with no bitterness, whatsoever. It’s simply the truth. Well then, have at it. What on earth is my subconscious trying to work...

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