24th July 2015
"Lots of men looking to meet a mature woman." I keep getting this email from dating agencies that I have never subscribed to. They must have figured out my particulars from the kind of hits I make on Yahoo News or something. They must have noticed that I never click on new dresses sported by Kate Middleton or anything at all to do with the Kardashians. They have figured out that I am so past it, I won't mind being called "mature." Like an old whisky. Lots of men are looking for whisky, so why not an aged woman?
I'm not aged, of course, though I might be before this publishing business spews me out on the other side. The picture on the back of my bestseller could well be of a grey-haired, terminally wrinkled, version of myself.
Claire McDougall the geriatric who writes of life and love on Scottish shores from her wheelchair. Get your copy now! Well I promise to dispense with the spaghetti straps before I come to this. I promise to wear a wig.
The lady who owns the bookshop in the town closest to where I grew up says my books are too expensive for her to stock. She says she has to sell them at a loss. Scotland, it seems, is not reverberating with the joys of my debut book. It doesn't really even know it's there. "It's hard for Scottish authors and publishers to get their books in book shops," says a woman from Scottish Publishing.com.
So I left Scotland with my shoulders slumped, my hands dragging palms-up like a cartoon character in an advanced stage of despair. I felt unloved by my beloved country.
But I am not one to go gently. You can't keep a good woman in spaghetti straps down.
Back in my office every early morning, I am churning out the next new thing and singing, I Can Go the Distance! I can't read the future in my cup of tea, wish I could - but I do know this publishing business takes the heart of a Hercules.