Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Road to Publication

          In retrospect, I should have started this diary a long time ago – when my manuscript was first slated for publication.
          I guess, like many a writer, I live inside a little bubble.  We writers quietly write for months on end, usually in almost solitary confinement, the clickety clack of the keyboard forming a kind of background track to the universes we create.  We ‘connect’ virtually: with our e-buddies (usually other writers who are also alone in their wordsmith towers), with experts who help us with our research and, occasionally, with distant loved ones.
          Eventually, we package up our forest of paper and send it out into publishing-land.  We weather the rejections (some of us make wallpaper with them, some compost the garden) and – eventually – we try to stop thinking about our ‘baby’ out there in the world trying to impress publishers with its style and panache and we begin work on our next project.
          Then, joy of joys, it seems our manuscript has managed to impress.  We do another check of it, pretty it up a little, and hand it over to the publisher.
          What did I expect would happen next?

          Abracadabra…A Book!

          Knock knock.
          ‘Who’s there?’
          ‘Ahem. Reality’. 

          The reality to which I refer is made up of typos and spelling errors, of to-ing and fro-ing between editor and author debating the subtle nuances of a sentence, a phrase and – yes  goddammit – a word.
          It’s a reality filled with misunderstandings and misgivings, minor tanties, excitement, tears, fright, pride, vacillations and confidence kickers.
          But finally, the manuscript is deemed complete.  Paperwork is signed.  There are sighs all ‘round.
          But wait, there’s more…
          There’s fonts and designs and cover art and blurbs and bios and decisions, decisions, decisions.  For someone who has trouble deciding on fish or chicken at a restaurant, someone whose friends constantly order for her because they can’t stand the waiting or the anxiety; presenting me with options is a big no-no.
          I am thrilled to say though that my humble story ‘8 States of Catastrophe’ is now almost a book.  I have seen a proof of its cover. 
          But my journey to seeing the book in stores and having it ‘walk off the shelves’ is a long way from over, as I trip into yet another universe.
          The Publicity Universe I am soon to enter has a different reality altogether.
          It means talking about oneself, about one’s body of work (no matter how slender), putting one’s actual physical self out there (no matter how ‘not-slender’), being articulate – instantly – via the mouth, rather than leisurely by keyboard (with the aid of dictionary, thesauri, library and internet).
          Oh well, this is what I have been waiting for.  There is nothing for it but to dive in ‘boots and all’.
          I’ll keep you posted…


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Leonard Cohen Concert Review

Absolute front row.  Almost dead centre.  Brisbane Entertainment Centre.  

An eerie hush is broken by thunderous ear-splitting applause as he appears.  The seventy-six-year-old ‘Ladies Man’, is down on bended knee singing Dance me to the End of Love and I wonder momentarily if I have drifted into a parallel – and absolutely perfect – universe.

Age has not wearied the man with the golden voice and he still oozes sex appeal from the tips of his toes to his rakishly perched hat. The drooped corners of his wise and somewhat sad eyes evoke a sense of mystery, while his rare smiles reveal a child-like mischievousness.   

He is accompanied on stage by top-notch musicians and back-up singers, yet nothing surpasses the sound of him alone, dragging notes from the gravelly sole of his boot and broadcasting them from his lofty window in The Tower of Song.  His recitation of A Thousand Kisses Deep reminded us that a poet of such magnitude needs no accoutrements.

The poignancy of Suzanne with her ‘tea and oranges’ and her ‘rags and feathers from salvation army counters’  had me watching Leonard through a gauze of tears as his poetic fingertips soothed my soul.  And when he sang I’m your Man, I sighed ‘oh yeah’, along with thousands of other concert-goers.

We Cohen fans came to Boondall with one thing on our minds – Leonard – so it was with considerable finesse that Clair Bowditch, as support act, bewitched the crowd with her sweet-and-sultry lyrics and soft bluesy voice.

I had the pleasure of meeting up with a couple of LC forum fans and was presented with a very official-looking lanyard by Dean from Adelaide which I happily wore with pride. Dean is spending a huge chunk of time, not to mention a considerable fist-full of cash, to attend a heap of concerts.  You can follow his progress at lcdownunder2010.

Life, as they say, is full of regrets.  I thought I would forever live with the regret of missing out on the Leonard Cohen experience when I failed to get tickets in 2009.  I never dreamed I would get a second chance.  So now I have one less regret to pack into life’s suitcase and my baggage feels all the lighter for it.

Mr Cohen may have left the building but I for one will never forget him.

PostScript:  My novel, 8 States of Catastrophe, is due for release in January 2011 and will be distributed by Pan Macmillan.  Fans of Leonard Cohen may enjoy it for its references to the great man and his lyrics.  I’ll post launch details as soon as they come to hand.  If you would like to go into the draw to win a signed copy of the book, please complete the survey.

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