Friday, 2 March 2012

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

Several of these beautiful books arrived at my house yesterday--the ultimate World Book Day gift!

I thumbed through the pages, so happy that Peter and Jonah and Etta have found a home in such a perfectly realised setting.

I checked the acknowledgements, hoping that I hadn't left anyone out.

I hadn't, but the list of names I'd included was far too short. When you've been trying to achieve something for as long I have, there are hundreds of people who could have been thanked.

There are the writers and speakers I met years ago at writing conferences and workshops who offered encouragement and praise, who made me feel (momentarily, at least) as if I actually had some ability. 

There are the dozens of friends who listened to me pitch story ideas that would never get off the ground, or whine about my latest rejection, and never--not once--rolled their eyes or glanced at their watches.

There's that obnoxious American tourist in Campo Santa Margherita in Venice who, in  2006,  made me so angry that I started writing again after a five-year block. After I gave him a glorious (to me, anyway) grappa- and spritz- fuelled tongue lashing, he threatened me with gangsterish reprisals: "You picked the wrong town, man."

Well, turns out I hadn't. This was not Palermo or Napoli. And being in that town, in that square, at that time, unleashed something far more powerful than any Venetian vendetta--it re-ignited my desire to write. And for that, sexist loud-mouthed numpty in a fake CBGBs T-shirt, I offer a hearty "Molte grazie."

And so, it all comes together--friends and strangers, dreams and hard work, imagination and life experiences, all combining to create a moment that is wonderful and real.

Thank you--everyone and everything.


  1. Very interesting post. One of my first rejection slips had a P.S. added:
    "P.S. Odette Elliott. What a lovely name for a writer!" That kind comment gave me hope.

    Then there was my grandmother who said "So When are you going to write those stories that you have always told me about?"

    I'm glad you had such a wonderful day yesterday.

  2. Ah, good to know those obnoxious American tourists ARE useful for something! Great story, Jane. And I can't wait to get the book in my hot little hands! Congratulations!

  3. Thanks, Anne and Odette! Yes, it's those small parcels of kindness and encouragement that keep us all going, Odette (and it is a lovely name for a writer!). Anne, this guy was like something out of a National Lampoon parody ("I know people in this town, man.")

  4. The books looks wonderful Jane, congratulations. Great post too, it is always fascinating to see what kick-starts the writing again.