Wednesday, 26 March 2008


Parsons.

That’s what I thought about calling this website.

No reason. It’s just a name.

Though of course it isn’t just a name. It’s a tribute.

I write, you see, and writers, at least those who have not yet become successful, who have not published and are not rich and famous, can often be beset by terrible self-doubt.

I love very much the book that I have written, and the book that I am writing now. I think both are interesting and sometimes beautiful and sad. Some people that have read You Life Is An Impossibility seem to agree with me (or at least they say they do. They may be lying).
Only when I sent the book off to agents and publishers, no-one seemed very interested in publishing it. I had forseen this happening, of course, for along with the romantic fantasies of literary stardom that every writer indulges in sits the knowledge that such dreams will probably remain fantasies while rejection will come with a hard efficiency. So I was prepared.

It hasn’t made me sad, nor has it made me think differently about my work. Writers write, after all, to write, not to become rich or famous or win prizes. But I wonder would I feel this way were it not for Tony Parsons? Would my confidence in my writing have sustained? Would the process of being rejected have affected me so little?

I don’t think so.

It’s because of Tony Parsons, you see, and Man and Boy and all his other books, and all the other writers like him, that I know that being published or not being published really has nothing very much to do with wanting to write something interesting or beautiful, something that might be remembered for a long time or even considered art. Of course I know there are some books in Waterstones and Borders and WH Smiths that are like that - that are memorable and important. I’m reading one now - Dan Chaon’s "Your Remind Me Of Me", and before that I read another one, Claire Keegan’s "Walk The Blue Fields". But that Tony and his books are published, and not just published but even acclaimed, gives me great hope. Because if Man and Boy can be published and acclaimed, then I know that agents and publishers when they say yes or no to a book, can’t really be thinking very much about literary merit or beauty or importance or whether the writer has anything of interest to say or whether the book they are reading is even any good or not. They must be thinking of other things. They must be thinking about sales and what is very popular at the moment and what might be very popular in the next few months. I don’t blame them. They have jobs to do, bosses to please, sales targets to achieve. (I’m sure too they all love books, though perhaps some of them love different books to me).

So if they are thinking like that, then how can I be upset that what I write doesn’t much fit with what they are looking for? How can I take badly being told that I don’t fit in Tony’s gang? I can’t, of course. Really, I’m glad. So thanks, Tony. And here’s to the next one.

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