Before I begin this rant, please note, I am not drunk. The new medication I am taking for my Hypersomnia means I can not drink. This evening I went to a lovely engagement do and consumed one mini cupcake and two rosewater-flavoured lemonades. So I am ranting with a sober heart.
I just need to vent, because being an aspiring author is really tough and right now I have no idea what I'm doing and don't have many people to talk to about it. I have no idea what the future holds for me. I have a Plan B, and a Plan C, but in a double-dip recession they're not too easy to make happen should Plan A fail. I have this horrible vision of entering my thirties and still living with my parents, crooked of back from hours spent looming over a laptop and shoving random bits of paper at publishers yelling 'Print Me! Print Me!' in the manner of a wolf who howls at the moon.
And tonight, at this lovely engagement do in Hampstead I did some mingling, which I actually quite enjoy because I like people and I like to chat. And I came across someone who, whether meaning to or not, made me feel about half the height I actually am (I'm nearly 6ft).
"So what do you do?" she of no name asks.
"Well I work part time, but right now I'm trying to get my novel off the ground." I reply.
"Oh, have you actually written one then?"
"Yes, it's sitting with agents at the moment. But it's all very tentative... you know..."
"And you work part time?"
"Yes, so that I can focus on my writing."
"Gosh, that's brave" FULL PATRONISING INTONATION. "And I suppose you're scouring over that big red Writers and Artists Yearbook every night?"
"No... I don't have one of those."
"I used to be a journalist. I found that very helpful. You should look at it."
"I think I'm doing ok at the moment, I know a few people who know a few people, and the internet is pretty handy."
"Have you had anything published before?"
"Not even a short story?"
"You should try and do that. Agents like that."
"I have done a Masters in Creative Writing..."
"But you haven't had anything published from it? Not even a short story?"
"I don't think I'm much of a short story writer. I really like writing bigger things."
"Well good luck with that." Side glance around the room. "So what do you do to earn money?"
"I work in a bookshop in London."
"Well I suppose that's linked to the writing thing. You could probably make some good contacts from that."
"Yes... I know..."
I'm going to leave it there because the conversation tapered after that point anyway and I can't remember how it ended. I just felt so small, and so low and so sad because whether intentionally or not, this one person really made me feel like an idiot, even though I'm pretty sure I'm not one.
But if I'm going to take one thing from this little, bitter tidbit, it's that it's given me some damned fire in my belly. Because if the zombie apocalypse arrives tomorrow, I know that I spent my final days dedicated to what I love doing. And I may fail, I know this, but I don't want to be one of those people who never tried. I've given up a lot to do what I have dreamed of doing since I was a little girl who folded over pieces of dot-matrix paper and bound them with cellotape to make her own library, and I'm not some naive little creature wide-eyed with optimism. I know what I'm doing. I love what I'm doing, and I may never ever make any money from it but right now I don't care.
Bring on the rejection slips. I'm ready for you.
VENTING OVER. HEART RATE SLOWED. TIME FOR BED.