Thursday, 20 December 2012

not a photo essay


When The Kilburn Social Club was published, the Inspiring Photo Essay was born. (It's been much much too long since an Inspiring Photo Essay.) It was born out of me going to see the book being printed. I didn't go this time, because I was too busy.

Authors commonly talk of the excitement of seeing their book in physical form, especially their first book. I wasn't excited. It was a trade paperback - a size of book I hate reading - and the typesetting was apologetic and cramped. Pointlessly cramped, I thought, since the book was a long one - not very long but a book part of whose raison d'etre was to deal with time and do so by immersing the reader in a long story. I like reading long books.

The pages looked fine, don't get me wrong, but they could have looked nicer and no one thought it was a short book because it was 498 pages instead of 550.

And so, all told, I wasn't that excited. I didn't start writing novels because I'd feel validation at being published. I wrote one because I hoped I'd be good at it, and I expected to be published, maybe not immediately but after hard work, and then I wanted to make it my life, and get better at it, and so on. The first one wasn't published. I hope it will be in the future. TKSC was published, and I was very pleased with it in lots of ways, though there are things I'd do differently now. Then I wrote The Dazzle which I think is a significantly better book (I am biased).

The Dazzle hardback arrived yesterday. It is really, properly, a lovely artefact. It's exciting.


(I opened it and the first thing I noticed, in a passage outside the main text, were two absent commas.)

(I hope you enjoyed the last episode of Warhorses of Letters, Series 2 last night.)

(What is that picture at the top? It is a short photo essay of our Christmas tree, which heavily features biscuits in the shape of fish iced in dazzle patterns.)

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