Monday, 17 August 2009

POINTY THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: 3 - SANITY (and book fest pics)

Continuing in my series of Pointy Thoughts, I bring you a thought of extreme importance. This has been engendered by correspondence from an agent friend of mine.

It is simple: do not submit any work to an agent or publisher when you are high on hallucinatory drugs. Ever.

That is the only explanation for the extraordinary example of mania that an agent has shown me.

No, let me be fair. I am going to think about this more carefully. There are some other feasible explanations, and I offer them all to you here:
  • the writer was in the grips of a quasi-religious seizure - this could be the right explanation, as it did contain references to the notion that God had called him to a writing career. Well, I think it did, but it was a bit hard to make sense of. God did come into it anyway. (And please don't tell me God comes into everything and that God is everywhere. God was definitely not with this guy when he wrote the letter, unless He wished to knacker the guy's career before it started. Which is actually not a bad idea. So, maybe it was a religious seizure...)
  • the writer was at a particularly difficult and intransigent stage of severe mental illness. Now, this I am very sympathetic to (not through personal experience, but through general human sympathy) and such situations are very tragic. However, this is really not the time to submit work to an agent. Or anyone at all.
  • a mad axe-man had burst into the writer's garret and was threatening to cut his head off unless the writer submitted the work right NOW and under conditions of extreme stress.
There are no other explanations.

People, submit your work when sober, clean and stable. Do it only of your own volition, not because forced to by either God or an axe-man.

And now, unconnectedly, I bring you some photos of the first couple of days of the Edinburgh Book Fest, including, by popular demand, some never-yet-seen photos of The Yurt.

Day One and Two of the festival, and the sun shines. See!

Now (below) we approach that glory of glories, the Yurt. First, the peaceful bit outside, with authors relaxing in the sun:

And here the entrance, which is deceptive, revealing none of its hidden mysteries.

In the background is the Press Pod.

Below is the entrance again, at a busy time, with Roland, the programme manager, looking important. Which he is. He looks as though he's smoking a pipe, but of course he's not: he's saying "over and out", or something equally technical, into his radio thing.

Here is the hospitality table, with, remarkably, no one there.

The roof of the Yurt, which never leaks.

And the carpet of the Yurt, with some rather fetching shoes.

The children's book tent

A shelf of my books, the non-fiction ones. Sadly, I could not photograph my daughter's handiwork in giving me prominence in the fiction section, because there were too many people in the way. What nuisances readers are.

And the tail end of some party or other - can't remember which. They blur ...

And just to show you that the sun always shines on my blog: Not a drop of rain or gust of wind have we had. Trust me, I'm a novelist.


catdownunder said...

Ms Morgan is very wise. Do not use catnip before you submit anything. (It is better not to use catnip at all.) Take a long catnap before you submit anything. It is better to sleep on these things.

Vanessa from Fidra said...

Oooh, a party I didn't go to! Made up for that later in the evening though never fear.

And I'm slightly alarmed by the off-balance aspect of the pic of the interior of the yurt - had you been at the alcholic refreshments perchance?

Nicola Morgan said...

Of course not, Vanessa. How could you think such a thing???

David Griffin said...

Hi Nicola, I suspect you are correct in assuming that the manuscript was written by someone high on funny smoke or worse, in the grips of some form of mental illness.

It's unfortunate there's a myth that some writers "perform" better whilst under the influence of alcohol, or drugs (I think caffeine overdose is just about acceptable ;) ) There are a very few notable exceptions, I guess, like William Burroughs and Hunter S. Thompson. Although even here, perhaps their novels were written with the "knowledge" and experience of drug-taking but written outside of that, I don't know...

I'd love to go to the Edinburgh Book Festival one year; I'm going to see if I can make it for next year. I like your photos; they've helped me understand that the festival is all under one roof (of a yurt: in all my born days, I've never heard of that word!). I guess I had this idea it was spread out in different venues across Edinburgh but perhaps I was thinking it was similar, in that respect, to the Comedy Festival...

Oh, and nice shot of the shoes!! My wife is obsessed with shoes; without appearing insulting, what is it with women and shoes!!

I'd like to mention here my reaction upon discovering your blog a week or so ago, and reading that you've written over 90 books: the word that sprang to mind was "Wow", really, wow. That's incredible to me, an amazing achievement, may I say.

(By comparison, my first novel was written in 1974, with a gap of 11 years til my second; my third which I started in earnest only a couple of weeks ago makes a gap of almost 25 years of not writing anything. (I've been sulking big time ever since my agent "let me go" in 1986)).

adele geras said...

Lovely to see pix of the Festival and the Yurt before going up there myself later this week! Looking forward greatly to a glimpse of you and your shoes!

Catherine Hughes said...

I also hope to go to the Book festival one day. Thanks for the pictures, Nicola - wish I was there!

And I find myself depserate to know - what was so awful about the manuscipt that it must have been submitted under the influence of mind altering substances??

Enquiring minds want to know - nay, need to know!

behlerblog said...

Nicola, darling, love the shoes! How I would have loved to be at the event. Perhaps next year.

Elen Caldecott said...

I'm ashamed to say that I lived in Edinburgh for six years and never once went to the book festival.
In my defense, I did work for the film festival at the time and didn't really have time to eat or sleep during August!
Next year, I'll be there!!

sarah fox said...

I really want to read that submission.

BuffySquirrel said...


If I can only submit when stable, then that's the end of my writing career.