Managed to get to church today after a 2 week break. This is good as I am the Sacristan, so responsible for preparing the altar etc for the communion services. It's just that I've found religion - not to mention God - hard going recently. It just doesn't seem to relate to the way I see God at the moment - or don't see him. I'm in the middle of reading a rather good book by American Philip Yancey called "Disappointment with God" - I usually hate books about religion or God, but this one fell off the shelf at me (metaphorically), and it seems to be pitched at the level I am right now. Today, at church, I liked one of the hymns, which made me think that maybe there's something out there after all, but the sermon put my back up. Big time. Contrary to the theme of the piece, I actually believe freedom of speech is a good thing and God is big enough and - dare I say it? - ugly enough to take the flak. And have more of a sense of humour about it than our rector would have us believe. Darn it, though, at least I was listening.
A round of golf post-church with Lord H (husband) cheered me up - we had a good time. Sometimes I'm sure life makes more sense on the golf course than it ever does in the pews. Then again, maybe the good lord might say the same.
My agent, John Jarrold - http://www.sff.net/people/john-jarrold/about.html - has emailed me today about his efforts with my 4th novel, "Maloney's Law." I've also told him that my 5th novel, "Thorn in the Flesh" is out with The Literary Consultancy - http://www.literaryconsultancy.co.uk - for critique before I send it to him. At the same time, I've given him the first 3 chapters of "The Gifting" for his comment, as he's a fantasy expert. Re "Maloney's Law", he says the following:
"Right, well we've heard from Penguin, Time Warner, Random House and Headline. It's still with Hodder, Transworld, Macmillan and Harper Collins, and they have promised replies ASAP. I'm also in touch with Serpent's Tail and a couple of other smaller publishers. I think the very positive thing about the replies we've had so far is that they all like your writing. Most fiction editors see around thirty books every week and take on two or three new writers in a full year, so to have responses that are encouraging is a Good Thing! It's a step forward on a very long road. I have meetings set up with most of the editors who have seen - or are still considering - Maloney's Law in the next month and further reports will wing their way to you the second I have news."
Nice to hear that people like what I write of course and it's very nice of John to be so encouraging, but it doesn't seem to get me any nearer publication. In some ways I wish they'd say I was rubbish, then the constant glimmers of hope and subsequent knock-backs might be easier to bear. It's terribly depressing. I've been so long on this road with work (6 years now, and onto my 6th novel) that I wonder how anyone gets published at all. And what exactly the UK publishing industry thinks it is about. The longer this goes on, the more I think that approaching only small independents with a little more courage in their veins, or simply self-publishing every time is the best - and certainly most enjoyable - way forward. Still, that would be unfair on poor JJ, so for the moment I'll see what he comes up with. But, bearing in mind past experience with the publishing trade, I am not holding my breath. And I'm prepared to self-publish and be damned indeed.
Have just finished a wonderful book by Barry McCrea - "The First Verse" - I was starting to think I'd never find a book again that actually gripped me and which I couldn't put down, but this one proved me wrong. Fascinating characters - mainly gay - and very dark. Just the style I warm to. When I wasn't reading about it, I was thinking about it, and that to me is the mark of a great book. It's about young Niall (Irish) who gets involved in a mystical book cult in his first year at university, and is unable to let it go, to the detriment of "real life" happening around him. For me - and at the risk of being pretentious - it's a metaphor for how books can grip us so we live in their worlds and the "real world" around us drifts away. True for writing too, as far as I'm concerned. Sometimes when I'm at work or doing something dull at home, all I can think about is my next scene or what my character is going to do next. Heavens, how we all need our fantasy worlds.
Anyway, it's Star Trek soon (another great fantasy world!) and I can't miss that. So here's today's haiku:
Wind the coffee up
and let the minotaur dance.
Heart's wild images.