Wednesday, 31 August 2011

I'm still here...just about...

Holy crap, this week has been hard. I've done no writing due to various factors and I'm feeling really low.

Work is poo. Let's face it, nine to five is dull and isn't aided by having a busy mind with various characters running around your head and chattering all day. Maybe I'm schizophrenic, I mused to myself today. If I am then I always have been I suppose. No, its purely an overactive imagination that I've tried and failed to tame since I was a child.

It's beautiful on some levels. When imaginary scenarios play out like picture perfect movie scenes in your head, it can make you hopeful and somewhat giddy about life and the adventures that lie ahead.

However, there's always a flip side and that's usually when I'm awake from fantasy land with my manager calling my name and asking me some inane question. As I blink myself back to reality, I'm hit with the stunningly terrible realisation that perhaps real life will never measure up to the magic in my mind.

That's a sobering thought.

The only way to bring it to reality is to write it down and hopefully one day be able to share it with people. And of course to live in feeble hope that I might one day have my own 'movie' moment. I'm thinking I probably won't have the money to employ a full orchestra to follow me round everyday to provide my personal soundtrack though...


Maybe what goes on in my head isn't unique and we all think like that. God, I don't know. Let's just say it's been one of those weeks.

Dos moves out tomorrow.

I have no more book to write.

Bad times.

I did get a ticket to see Motley Crue, Def Leppard and Steel Panther today though. And my rock and roll posters arrived in the post, so I suppose things aren't so bad.

Plus I got to beat out my frustrations at an impromptu boxercise class at the gym tonight.

Every cloud...

I'll be happier next time, I promise.

Em

x


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A little bit...lost

My car radio does a funny thing. I use one of those adapters you plug into your iPod or iPhone and it plays your music through the radio and it's great. I don't to listen to Auto Glass adverts any more. Happy days.

However, it has a mind of its own. Sometimes when it's in the middle of a song, the radio will burst through for a few seconds before my song carries on playing. It was amusing the first few times but now it's just getting silly.

Case in point - I was driving to see my family and some friends in my home town at the weekend, listening to some Deep Purple when Lynyrd Skynyrd's Sweet Home Alabama blasted through. I took one look at my radio and curled my top lip in disgust. "I don't think so," I muttered to myself.

It may be where I grew up but 'home sweet home' it ain't. In fact, I couldn't get out of there quick enough when the time came. Not sure what makes people like me so flighty but I suppose that's just how it is sometimes.

It got me thinking about home and whether, if you leave the place you grew up, you'll ever feel 'at home' again. I live in Liverpool now and must say, feel a little bit like I'm in limbo. Well, to be more accurate, Dos and I are in purgatory at the moment. He moves out next week and so we're slowly but surely starting to pack all of his things away and the flat is starting to look like a war zone.

Aside from literally living in no man's land at home, I'm also facing a manager at work who doesn't seem to be able to make his mind up as to whether I'm a 'battery hen' (his words) or a serious professional. I shouldn't blast him though - most days I haven't got a clue either. So, as I swing from monkey-girl to decision-maker in work, let's turn our attention to my book.

My whole reason to exist at the minute. It certainly feels that way anyway.

I've got my manuscripts waiting to be posted while I wait for payday to be able to afford the astronomical postage prices and I'm at a bit of a loss of what to do. Blame it on the fallout going on around me but I really don't know what the next step is.

Do I hammer the phones of literary agents to see if they'd be interested? Or do I just post a load out and then sit with my fingers crossed for eight weeks?

I just don't know.

And I'm bloody tired of thinking about it. I'm mentally preparing myself for rejection and it's making me feel drained already. Silly when I haven't even sent them away yet.

On a lighter note, you may recall I have my three readers of the book - Uno, Dos, Tres (seriously, no idea why I used Spanish numbers - completely random). Well I now have a Cuatro. A new person to bug - lucky them! You know who you are...what are you doing reading this? Get bloody going on the book!

I've also been reading the book out loud as a way of getting a different perspective and get some feedback from anti-reader Dos, who I need to verify the music tech-y parts of the book. It's been really therapeutic and something nice to look forward to after work. It may make me come across as more clinically insane than usual (seriously Dos, lucky escape) but I kinda love it.

And who knows, I might be doing that in front of a bunch of people one day when the book becomes a success. (I just winced writing 'when' rather than 'if' but I'm trying to think positively)

I'll keep plodding along in limboland for the next couple of weeks while I prepare myself to line up at the start line of the next big race. I'm just feeling a bit too restless to stand still at the start gate at the minute but I'm sure everything will start to feel settled soon enough. Until then there's always Jack Daniels and Planet Rock.

Thanks for reading,


Em

x




Friday, 19 August 2011

Here we go....


They're here!

Only the m*ther f*cking manuscripts! Ten of the bad boys! Ten!!!!!

Okay, okay, enough of the exclamation points, you get the picture.

There's no more editing to be done now. Any amends I want to make or things I want to add.....well, it's too damn late. I've saved a copy for myself and keep eyeing it while it's sat on the arm of the sofa. Aside from the fact I've read the bloody thing about a hundred times and am now getting fed up with watching my heroine make the same cock-ups over and over again (seriously love, common sense - look it up), there's absolutely nothing I can do to change it.

In the Metallica movie Some Kind of Monster, Lars is admiring some $1m dollar painting and musing about when the artist is 'done'. When does he decide to stop painting? I thought it was a really interesting point and I found myself wondering whether you're ever really done with a painting, or a song, or a book....

Hmmmmm.....

Well Lars, I can't speak for the artist who painted that pretty picture but I certainly know I'm done when I see a box full of manuscripts sat in the middle of the room. The red pen is definitely having a rest for a while.

I've now got to get in contact with literary agents and get the thing sent off in the hope of getting representation. Anyone looking to try and flog a book about a girl going on the road with a rock band to publishers? Anyone?

I should be really excited at this point but now I'm scared. There's really no excuse not to get posting it off and then facing that agonising wait for a response. I've just got to find some distractions to keep me from losing my mind during those weeks (6-8 apparently) where agents are having a read of the manuscript.

Maybe I'll become a philosopher like Lars and ponder over questions that are impossible to answer, such as...

Why do Scouse women go out in public in pajamas and rollers?

Why does my manager say the words "It's not a loaded question but..." and then proceed to ask me a question that hangs heavy around my neck?

How come Jurassic Park isn't real? And if it was, would I be able to trade my Tesco Clubcard points for a ticket?

And while we're on the subject of Tesco, what's the deal with them getting the Xmas shit on the shelves in frigging August? (Seriously, there should be a law against this)

Is that boyband, The Wanted, the ugliest bunch of man-boys in the world?

Is Dave Grohl the nicest man in rock?

Are Iron Maiden fans the friendliest people you'll ever meet?

Does anyone still give a toss about the X Factor? (If you do, I want to know why. I'm genuinely interested)

Why is Ami James so hot? And why isn't he sat here, spending Friday night with me? I'd make enchiladas and everything.

Yeah, I reckon those should keep me going for a while....

*Twiddles thumbs*

My copy of the manuscript is still looking at me.

Maybe I'll just read a couple of chapters....just to pass the time, you understand...

Happy Friday ;-)

Em

x


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

It's enough to drive you crazy if you let it

You know what I love?

My day job.

I love it. I mean I really love it.

The following conversation between my manager and I from today highlights why:

Manager: Emma, can I get your advice on something?
Emma: Sure. (Gets up and walks around to his desk). What's up?
Manager: I need to speak to you about this piece of literature we're working on. (shuffles papers and finds the one he's looking for) I'm struggling with the wording and as I know you write and you have a degree in English as well as not-to-be-sniffed at career in PR before joining this company, I was wondering whether you might be able to help me out.
Emma: (Nodding) Of course I can.
Manager: I'm sorry to pull you away from your work, it's just that I may as well use the expertise we have in the office.
Emma: I agree.
Manager: Also, I thought I'd let you know that your suggestions for the new website have been briefed into the agency and will be implemented ASAP.
Emma: (Taken aback) Wow, that's great.
Manager: (Shrugs) It makes sense. Didn't you work on the web team in your last job for a while? And doesn't your ex design websites?
Emma: (Nods)
Manager: Well then, that settles it. Here, take the literature and have a read. Oh, and Emma? About the Milan show, do you fancy going?

See what I mean? You can't get much better than that.

It's bullshit but still, it's a nice thought.

No, the conversation went more like this:

Manager: Emma, I want to stick my nose in and make some changes to the literature you're working on.
Emma: (Used to hearing these words) Great, be good to get a different perspective.
Manager: Right, let's start with this sentence - I've changed it so say 'over' rather than 'more than'
Emma: Oh, erm...that's actually grammatically incorrect.
Manager: (Says nothing but just blinks at me)
Emma: (Clears throat) It's just that if you're talking about a value, like in this case, then its usually 'more than'. If you say 'over' its to describe physical actions, like 'the cow jumped over the moon' or...am I making sense?
Manager: No
Emma: Oh, okay (scribbles out 'more than' and grits teeth to replace it with 'over')
Manager: And I was wondering about the whole 'toaster' thing.
Emma: (My turn to blink stupidly)
Manager: I mean, do people really get a feel for what it actually does from this brochure?
Emma: But...it's a toaster
Manager: I know, it's just that...okay, look at this, it says 'extra wide slots'
Emma: (trying not to giggle like a schoolgirl) Mmm-hmm
Manager: I think we need to elaborate.
Emma: (Laughs out loud but abruptly stops) Are you serious?
Manager: Deadly. You know what it means, Emma. You're close to this product but would Average Joe who picks up the leaflet understand what it is?
Emma: It's extra wide slots. It just means the slots are...extra...wide.
Manager: Well, expand on it. I want an explanation. Oh, and the website comments you made...
Emma: (Excitedly) Yes
Manager: Listen, I agree with you but it's been overruled.
Emma: (raises eyebrow) By who?
Manager: Our Managing Director
Emma: Isn't he on holiday?
Manager: What's that there?
Emma: (looks over shoulder) Where?
Manager: Nothing, I thought I saw a spider. Anyway (stands up quickly), if you could make the amends I've scribbled down, that would be great. And about Milan...
Emma: Yes?
Manager: Can you look at flight times for me and the Managing Director? You'll need to stay in the office and keep an eye on our emails.
Emma: (mutters) Sure thing.

Repeating my mantra of "I am a writer" over and over again seems to be helping somewhat with the pain.

When one of my other (nobby) colleagues found out Dos and I had split up, he rubbed his hands together and said, "Great, that means you might focus on your career for a bit and actually do some decent work."

I shit you not.

It's made me more determined to make the most of my life outside of that place and make sure my novel gets published. I might be a long time away from a full time writing career but I live in hope that I'll be able to slap my notice letter on my managers desk one day and tell them I've landed an amazing book deal. Stranger things have happened.

I got home from the day job today and collapsed on the sofa with my blanket, not moving and just drifting in and out of sleep. Some days it drains me but there's always little gems that perk me up. Coming first in an online writing competition on Facebook last week was one such gem.

I just have to remember....

I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.

In the same way my equally frustrated colleague is really a little cupcake genius, or the way Dos is actually a rock star working in retail, or Uno is a traveller of the world who's trapped marketing domestic appliances, or Tres is a school teacher who's currently selling mortgages. We'll all achieve it if we want it badly enough (although, I'm sorry Dos but no amount of hard work will actually turn you into Dave Grohl...)

I think I'll start my day with a nice coffee tomorrow from Costa and hopefully that won't be the only gem in my day. I might even get my copies of the manuscript back which has been held hostage at the printer for more than a week...

Have a great Wednesday/hump day everyone.

Em

x




Sunday, 14 August 2011

The end of indifference

A few years ago I bought a notepad.

Big deal eh?

However, this wasn't any old notepad - it was the thing I used to document my thoughts and emotions during a really crappy time where I hated my day job.


I was enjoying a day out in Southport with my parents at the time and I seem to remember every question my they asked me was greeted with my usual shrug and breezy "I don't really mind!" response. At the end of the day, my Mum looked at me and uttered the words that still haunt me to this day (and words I've since used to other people), "You're too young to feel this indifferent." She also pointed out that I probably wouldn't be able to name my favourite colour, my favourite food etc. basically anything that required an opinion. She was absolutely right, I couldn't. 



My job had sapped all of my energy and I was mentally and emotionally drained. My work colleagues were a nightmare a lot of the time and I didn't have the energy to see my other friends. So it was basically just Dos and I working crazy hours - like ships that pass in the night. It's funny how you don't realise you're at a low point until someone takes you by the shoulders and gives you a good shake.

The day in Southport was my wake call and I promptly purchased the notepad and a new pen and that evening, when I got home, I wrote a list of all of my favourite things. It took some thought. While I was struggling to think about my favourite colour, I flipped the pad over and opened the book from the back and started to write. It was pure junk just pouring out of my head and I scribbled away furiously.

I did this night after night, documenting my crappy days in work and my militant job hunt until one day I dropped the pad on the floor and grabbed my laptop, opening the Word document I'd been dipping in and out of for more than a year. My attempt at writing a book which I'd abandoned because I thought I was crap. Taking a deep breath, I picked up where I left off and the rest is rather boring history.

Dos and I broke up this year and after locking myself away to get the book finished, I once again found myself feeling...indifferent. I was single for the first time in ten years (so basically single for the first time...ever), my day job was stressful again and my friends had been seriously neglected. So, once again, I picked up my pad and started to write about my favourite things.

Turns out that music really floats my boat these days and I'm making a conscious effort to go to more gigs and my monthly purchase of Classic Rock magazine helps to feed my music trivia obsession. Last night I went to see a Gun N Roses tribute band and discovered a fab new band called Kitty Lips. My first gig alone and I survived. At the risk of sounding cheesy, it's like a new chapter in my life.

I took my notepad out with me today and started scribbling some paragraphs of what I hope will become the follow-up to Driving Exile. It felt really nice, like the start of something great. I know I don't have any control of the future - what will be will be - but I'm hoping my next chapter can be named - Emma Silver PUBLISHED!!! Just putting it out there...

Thanks for joining me on what I hope will be a fun journey ;-)

Em

x


Monday, 8 August 2011

Busy, busy, busy


Tonight I've done the following:

  • Bought curtains for living room
  • Tidied and cleaned flat
  • Hoovered
  • Put washing away
  • Put more washing in
  • Ironed new curtains
  • Took down photos of Dos and I looking like love's young dream
  • Hung curtains
  • Prepared lunch for tomorrow

So? I hear you ask. So the point is, I just don't spend my evenings this way. Well, I haven't for the last 12 months since hammering my book anyway. It went to the printers this morning and I'm waiting for the printed copies to come back.

Until then...

What.

The.

Fuck.

Do.

I.

Do?

I wanted to write a book so I wrote one. I didn't really think about what I'd do afterwards. Yes, there's the mailing out to agents and then the agonising wait for it to come back with the obligatory rejection letter but aside from that - what shall I do?

I have to say, I've started work on a sequel but that just feels a bit silly until I get the first one published. Plus, do I really want to shut myself away for another year? I loved writing Driving Exile - it was the most amazing time and I learned so much and hopefully created some characters that'll stand the test of time, but as for spending the best part of a year sat on my fat arse, hammering away at my laptop....I think I'll pass.

I want to carry on writing so maybe I'll pen a couple of short stories to keep my imagination working. Or maybe even start reviewing bands again like I used to for a Manchester entertainment magazine.

Who knows?

It's exciting. Despite the somewhat crappy year it's panned out to be, I need to keep in my mind that I wrote a book. Something I've been wanting to do all of my life. That's not to be sniffed at, I suppose.

I should get the 10 copies back later this week and then the mailing out begins. Whatever happens, I'm pretty proud of myself.

Plus, I'm sat in a very clean flat with tomorrows lunch ready on the kitchen counter. I could get used to this...

Em

x




Saturday, 6 August 2011

Telling stories...


I found myself on the spot at a family function recently where everyone was asking about my book. As I squirmed in my chair and tried to sound confident describing the plot (why does it always sound lame?) and nervously fiddling with my hair, my cousin nudged me and smiled, "You always loved telling stories when we were kids."

I'd wracked my brain - had I? I couldn't really remember. Throughout my childhood and my teens all I could remember obsessing about was becoming an actress or a singer so I was always prancing around the living rooms of friends and family, putting on plays and just generally being a precocious little brat. But I suppose all of that was a form of story telling - a chance to pretend to be someone else and live out a different story for a while.

I always told stories and by around the age of 12 I became convinced I was a pathological liar and resided myself in the fact I'd probably live out my days in a loony bin. I just...made shit up. (Anyone I went to school with who's unsure as to whether I actually went out with a mysterious 20 year old called Jay who rode a motorcycle, wore a leather jacket and smoked....erm, yeah...I didn't). Life just seemed a bit dull and I had all of these crazy ideas in my head that I wanted to express and I had no idea how to do it. The silly stuff to try and make me look cool stopped quickly (thank the lord - how embarrassing...) as I managed to get it out of my system through creative writing and drama classes but as an adult I found the odd little story creeping in.

Carol: "Hello <<insert major supermarket here>>."
Me: "Canb I shhpeak to Carol pleaseb?"
Carol: "Yes, it's me. That wouldn't be Emma by any chance would it?"
Me: "Yesh, I'm afraish I wonbe in work chewday."
Carol (warily): "Really? Why's that?"
Me: "Welg, I'b hashome bental worch donb and canb shpeak..."
Carol: "Dental work?"
Me: "Yesh. Bemergensshee bental worch."
Carol: "On a Saturday?"
Me: "Maaadjor bemergenshee."
Carol: "Weren't you off last Saturday as well? Because you had to help the police with some incident with your next door neighbour."
Me: "Thash correct."
Carol (sighing): "Fine, Emma. Call me when you're better."

I'd hung up the phone and removed my finger from my mouth and turned to a nineteen year old Dos who was sat on the arm of the sofa, arms folded and looking distinctly unimpressed.

"You couldn't just tell them you weren't feeling well? Like a normal person," He asked, raising an eyebrow.

I'd frowned at him, "Of course not. They'd never believe that." I smiled triumphantly. "Besides, the tooth thing is perfect - no one's stupid enough to make that up."

"No, I suppose not," He looked amused and pointed at me. "You love doing that."

"What?"

"Telling stories," He yawned and stretched. "You can't help yourself. Now, come and help me clean the place. That party was mental and I've got the mother of all hangovers..."

In the last four years, I've managed to find an outlet for my imagination through my book and I wish I'd done it sooner. It might have saved my bosses in my part time jobs while I was at University a lot of frustration.


I met with a friend of mine today for a coffee. She's been studying to be a vet for the last five years and finally graduates next May. She's worked her butt off to achieve her dream and as she was in the middle of an anecdote about working a 24 hour shift and having to deal with doggy diarrhoea, broken hind legs and neutering, I saw the twinkle in her eye and just knew she was born to work with animals.


Some people become vets. Some tell stories.

I suppose that's just how it is sometimes.


Em

x