Some years ago a friend told me she had a rule for how she lived her writing life: if something good happened, she gave herself 24 hours to celebrate; if something bad happened, she gave herself 24 hours to commiserate – either way she just had to move on. It’s a brilliant rule. It’s all about tenacity and persistence.
Thankfully, I’ve had a reason to invoke the rule’s Option A: I’m Ready Now has been shortlisted for the $10,000 ACT Book of the Year award (on top of the previous short-listing for the 2013 ACT Publishing and Writing Award for fiction). Thank you, ACT Government. All the details, including the other three titles on the short-list, can be found at the Canberra Times.
Privately – quite clearly not so privately at all – I’m just a little bit thrilled, especially as I’m Ready Now is the only work of fiction on the list. However, I’m also shocked. I enjoyed writing the very first draft of this novella back in Tasmania in 2010, but there was significantly less enjoyment to be had once the redrafting process got into full swing and a great wave of doubt came crashing.
Still, here we are.
Speaking of awards, thanks to the glories of social media I recently stumbled on this honest and illuminating article by UK novelist Jane Rogers published in The Guardian. At core, I think, it’s about the wise imperative of writing what you want to write, what you’re passionate about, what moves you. However, it also points to the importance of small presses, which are able to take risks and, against sometimes – often – crushing odds, get recalcitrant books out to the world. Rogers also talks about what literary awards can do for books/writers on the margins, even if the books are only short-listed, or even just long-listed. It’s a terrific and timely read.
In other news, the good folk at The Writers Bloc, an emerging collective spread between Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, and, it seems, is spreading even further afield, recently interviewed me for a pod-cast on the places where writing happens. (The pod-cast can also be found here.) For some reason I took the opportunity to talk about military deserters, isolation, and – um – maps. Nope, I can’t explain it either.
PS The third and final in this series of novellas is completely finished from my perspective (which, it should be admitted, is almost always the wrong perspective in the context of these things) and is now firmly in the hands of the mighty Blemish Books. I’m looking forward to sharing this story with you. It’s different from Fall on Me and I’m Ready Now, and has had a four-year gestation – as they say in Hollywood, it’s had a lot of work done. Not that I’m expecting to end up in Hollywood on the back of this one. Though wouldn’t that be nice? Okay, I’ve gotten carried away. See what a short-listing can do? It can send a writer into la-la-land. Quite happily.