So much to blog about: home life, work life… Actually, that’s all I’ve got. I thought there’d be a longer list, but I was wrong.
First on the home life.
I finally drug myself back to the flat last night. While I wasn’t preparing for a fight, I was expecting some sort of rumble between Fife and I regarding BigOne. When I left town he was blaming me for 1) BigOne running away 2) ditching him and kids for the weekend. I only deserved to get flack for the second of those two things.
So you can imagine how surprised I was when I came home to find the house spotless, all of Fife’s stuff packed away (no more boxes), dinner on the hob, candles lit and – get this – a newly painted lounge.
On Saturday morning, Fife marched the kids back to the flat and had them scrub, sand and then paint the living room. Actually, they were just going to paint the wall they wrecked, but since the colour didn’t exactly match the other four walls, he had them paint the rest of the flat. To best, I’m fairly sure Fife did most of it as neither BigOne nor LittleOne would be tall enough to reach too high. But the sentiment is the same.
I was absolutely shocked. I asked what brought all of this on, and Fife just shrugged and said, ‘You’ve been really sympathetic and I thought you deserved a bit of a treat. And the boys wrecked your house, so they need to learn that they have to pay for the consequences of their actions.’
As I said, shocked.
I just don’t understand Fife as a parent. One minute he does the whole ‘Boys will be boys’ act, and the next minute he’s the strict disciplinarian. I also don’t understand how he gets really angry, but then just gets over it out of the blue. He’s done this before, gotten unbelievably angry about something, then just dropped the matter later. I just don’t get him.
Anyway, he’d already brought the kids back to Helen’s, so Fife and I spent a romantic, sexy, kid free Sunday evening together. It was so nice, and it reminded me why I fell for him in the first place. He’s charming, romantic, quirky and devil smart.
He spent all of today in the flat (Helen and her mum sorted the kids out for school today, so Fife didn’t have to go back to Fife) writing on his new novel. All he did from 9am when I left until 5:30pm when I got home was write, and he looked drained. It was like he’d run a marathon. He says that when he has a good solid day of writing, it sucks the life out of him, but in a good way. Then he started talking about how creative writing isn’t creative – not in the way people think of ‘creativity’. He said that people think being creative is getting this brilliant streak of inspiration, one that is emotive and transcends the physical, then you put that inspiration on paper or canvas or in a song (or whatever), and you have done something ‘creative’ and important. Fife says that this is bollocks. You might get that transcendental flash, which ends up on paper, but that first bit of inspired writing is utter shite. He says that the true creativity comes from analytical thinking. Understanding how certain words force a reader to feel a certain emotion, changing the syntax to better describe a moment, adjusting the plot for suspense. Fife was telling me that – in his opinion – these things are more akin to the work of an engineer. That creativity is work and hard graff.
He’s got a good point, and I’m inclined to agree. I’ve said before that I’ve given up my dream of being a novelist because I’m rubbish at writing fiction. Well, maybe I’m rubbish at fiction because I’m inherently lazy. The thought of pouring over every word and sentence, and rewriting something a hundred times sounds like the world’s worst job. (If you haven’t noticed, my blog is full of typos and bad writing that is never corrected or edited.)
Anyway, I’m digressing again. Fife was absolutely knackered when I got home, and was out asleep snoring away on the sofa by 9am. I prodded him to go to bed, and I finally got him off the sofa by ten.
However, despite his creative analytical genius and hard working nature, I’m worried about his career as an author. As I’ve mentioned before, in order to write this new lit fic (as opposed to his usual genre of historic fic) he’s completely skived on the edits for his most recent book, and if I was his editor and/or publisher I’d be livid. And how do I know I’d be livid? Because the exact same thing is happening to me at the Agency – sort of.
That client of Loraine’s who was in a tizzy about the cover of her book is now in a tizzy about the edits she’s being asked to make. Granted the publishers are suggesting some major edits – like cutting an entire character and completely rewriting several chapters – but they are all things that would greatly improve the manuscript, and I can’t believe Loraine didn’t pick up on these things before the manuscript went off to the publishers. Or maybe she did note them, but DivaWriter didn’t want to make the adjustments, I don’t know. So the writer has started writing her next novel, instead of doing the edits on the previous one. And she wants me to start pushing this next manuscript before the one prior is finished.
It’s not unusual for agents to start selling one manuscript before the previous one is published, especially if the author is relatively prolific. But, if the author isn’t even willing to work on the first one, then there’s not much of a chance you’ll sell the second one. Word spreads quickly when an author is difficult to work with, and unless their sales are high enough to feed the editor’s family for a year, the second book won’t get picked up.
So, that’s the situation I’m in. I can’t get the woman to finish the first book properly, so we can move on to the next one. And if she doesn’t finish the first one, we’ll never move on to the next one, meaning that her career will be dead. And, as you can imagine, every time Fife tells me about his new book (and not the edits for the old book), I cringe and worry that he’s killing his career.
But, on some good news. Conspiracy’s sales have shot up. Like a lot. I can now properly start pushing his blog book, and use the sales of the first as a sales indicator. However, Conspiracy’s still on the fence about using his real name, which means that those who are buying his first book, won’t know to buy the second because it will be written under a new name. And if it’s under a new name, we can’t use his real name to promote the blog book. And it’s hard to claim that his second book will have the same sales as the first (now that his first book is actually selling), if we can’t count on using the following he’s getting for the first book. Wow, I’m getting a bit ranty. When it comes to sales and money, I get totally nervous. I know how much the Agency needs some big sales, so I get a bit jittery when I start thinking about sales projections (or the lack thereof).
Anyway, I’ll get off this topic.
B had mentioned coming back to the UK for a long holiday, but was going to wait until summer holidays (for those who haven’t been reading the blog for very long, she’s a teacher in Italy). Yet, she’s decided to come back for the Jubilee this weekend. She’s staying with D, and they spent the better part of today texting me and nagging me to come home for the weekend. Oh, and HarryPotter has off for the long weekend as well, and he wants me to come to the St Andrews caravan with him. And Fife’s kids have off for the weekend, and he wants us to spend it at the cottage. Personally, I’m leaning towards going home to see B. I mean how can I not? It’s Jubilee weekend (serious excuse for wearing clothes made out of Union Jacks) and I dearly want to see B and D, and most likely M.
But, then again, I can’t really afford it. A ticket home would be well over £100. And between my two impromptu jaunts to Glasgow and one to Newcastle (including hotel), I can’t afford a train ticket to London.
Which means that I’m open to go to St Andrews with HarryPotter, but if Fife’s got the kids, and I ditched him last weekend for HarryPotter, I can’t ditch them this weekend. Sucks not being able to do what ever I want. Stupid relationship.
So, as I said. Fife’s out cold for the night, much earlier than his usual bedtime. His phone started going and it was LittleOne (yes, his kids each have their own iPhone, it’s absolutely mental). I shook Fife, but he didn’t wake up, not properly, so I answered the phone before it went to voice mail.
I told LittleOne that I’d try and wake his dad, but he said that he actually called to talk to me. He said that he missed me this weekend, and he wanted me to tuck him in to bed over the phone. I asked if his mother minded me tucking him in, and LittleOne said that his mother told him to call me. (I seriously doubt it.)
I agreed to ‘phone-tuck’ – as we’ve decided to call it – and I asked him all his night time questions: ‘Have you washed your face?’ ‘Have you brushed your teeth?’ ‘Have you done your homework?’ That sort of thing. Then I started asking silly questions like, ‘Did you paint your hair green?’ He giggled and I asked sillier questions until I realised that he may be getting too loud, and his mum may discover that he’s on the phone past his bedtime.
So I said I’d tell him a story instead, and I told him the story of Eurydice and Orpheus. When I was finished LittleOne said, ‘That was one of Daddy’s stories, but I like how you tell it better. Good night.’ And he hung up the phone. He is actually quite cute, when his evil brother isn’t about.
You know, maybe a jubilee weekend with the kids in the cottage won’t be so bad. LittleOne’s kind of cute, and Fife did get BigOne to repaint my lounge. So, maybe things looking up after all.