This waiting game can really put one in limbo. I have, believe it or not, a long list of unpublished posts that, in this disgruntled state between books (or rather between alternate alternate realities, as they are not yet books), I have been unable to conclude in any cohesive way. They linger, much like me, in a mental waiting room picking idly through outdated magazines, scanning the half-finished crosswords for mistakes, scoffing at the unfashionable hair-dos (who was it that thought the mullet should make a comeback) and nutritional advice that has long since been disproved (eat an egg a day, don’t eat eggs etc etc ad nauseam).
Yes, I feel as though I’ve been waiting that long. Not to be published, mind, but for an offer that threatens like ozone before a thunderstorm on the horizon.
The good thing about this pending offer is that I now know with deadly certainty what I suspected all along; my new novel is an excellent and extraordinary work. I have been told that many times, but until an actual publisher said it, I didn’t believe it. Mentors and friends can say those things, but there is always the suspicion of bias. There is always the gnawing doubt that they’re saying nice things to be nice, their response formulated before they read the first paragraph, like when you ask your husband, ‘does my bum look big in this?’ Just as he will always protect his sex life with an emphatic no, friends will find good things to say about one’s manuscripts for fear of being stabbed, even if they, in their heart of hearts, know that it’s a tragedy you wasted five years destroying a keyboard.
Now, instead of being chewed on by that very-hungry-caterpillar called self-doubt, I find that I am calm and certain. Plus, the fact that my husband† is actually reading my manuscript and loving it has imbued me with a certain Lauren Beukes-like confidence*. And, while I suspect this well of self-assurance will dry up at some point, (probably around 4.30pm tomorrow – the end of the beginning of next week) just for tonight, I’m going to kick back with my glass of wine and enjoy feeling like the super-talented writer I am.
* Lauren Beukes-like confidence = knowing you are shit hot and refusing to undersell yourself. Admirable quality I try (unsuccessfully) to inhale during Savasana (the relaxation meditation at the end of yoga class).
† husband thinks the manuscript is genius and suggests I not sell it at all until the market picks up, as if it were an investment property. I don’t take his opinion lightly as he could not fake interest; he is the one reader I dread. Should publishers want to expand into circles of almost-non-readers, they might consider using him as a litmus test.