17th April 2015
My agent is at the London Book Fair. It's held in Kensington. And the British Museum is just across Kensington Gardens. How appropriate then that during the day he is wheeling and dealing at the fair and in his time off he is reading my book "Hazel and The Chessmen," which is about a crazy Scottish nationalist's plot to steal a a group of Scottish artifacts from that prestigious museum. Yeah! My active little mind pictures my agent tearing across Kensington Gardens on his lunch break, my book in hand (not possible because it is still living in the ghost world of unaccepted, unpublished stories) and checking out those ancient chessmen. In my fevered brain, he is already selling the damn book at the fair on the strength of my unedited virtual manuscript. Even more, there is an bidding war going on, with publishers offering higher and higher purchase deals. It goes into six figures and then seven. Good God! I can buy off the mortgage. I can go on a cruise!
No, actually. The truth is, he is in London, and he is reading my book, but all the rest is fiction. I can't go on a cruise, and the mortgage will not yield. Thank god for the long-suffering hard working husband who pays the bills. If it had been left to me and my earnings, I would be living on welfare - aagh, another subsidy junkie. May the GOP choke on my consumptive vomit.
I went to a book reading yesterday by one of the big names the Aspen Writer's Foundation pulls in over the winter. From their line-up, you have to conclude that there are a lot of women writing out there. Like myself they are the squeaks that made it out of the age of male hierarchies. Now they have a voice, but they are more comfortable with squeaks. My fellow women writers and I are squeaking from the gallery. Ruth Ozeki was her name, and her editor at Viking was the interviewer. There are a lot of women editors in the publishing business. Perhaps it's because women were the original story tellers. I think they were, and now we are coming back into our own in the Age of Aquarius (Pisces be damned, we're taking our voices back.)
All we need to do now is realise we don't have to wear scarves to belong to the gang. Every woman writer I go to hear is wearing a conservative top covered by a Pashmina scarf. It's the uniform. But don't be uniform. Be a story teller. Run naked across Kensington St. Gardens waving your book, and grab those damned artifacts that the British Museum (another of those hierarchies swiped when no one was looking. Do it. Just do it.
Letter From America