Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Monday, September 19, 2005

Perils Of The Rubbish Bin

In all the furore of the work at hand and everything else that life has thrown at me these last few days, I clean forgot not only about my future Brother-in-Law's birthday, but also about my parent's wedding anniversary. Well, it's not so much I forgot, I remembered about them all last week but sat on it until I did forget. What's worse is I can't buy the cards today because it's a holiday for most people, except of course, this office.

I'm feeling quite stressed and out of it today. My head pounded the entire morning at work and not even lunch appeased the pain. My back is sore and I feel like smashing up something that has little value just to make myself feel better. Actually, a cuddle from my wife would do the trick so I met her after work and pounced on her as soon as she was out of the door.

I filtered out suitable publications for the five short stories I have sitting on one submission and got them ready for emailing from my home PC. One Story accepts via an online form so I sent them A Bond of Faith and Heart of a Child. I also re-drafted the final version of the query for What a Waste and put together a job application for a part-time position at a publication looking for a Scottish writer.

Then I had three more applications received from prospective photographers. The more I get, the harder it seems to be. I drew up a spreadsheet to try and filter out who is most suitable. Some had totally inadequate responses so they were easy to reject. Others are way over the top qualified and should really be looking for larger paying markets. I know a credit in a book is a good thing, but having a gleaming corporate media company wanting to take a picture of me for a chapbook doesn't fit with my image as much as it should be well beneath them. I'll keep a note of them though for the future.

While I was working on the applicants information I got an email from "swanieslunch". Now, the person who surfs under this ID popped into my live internet chat with KIC lat month but never said anything, and when they replied to the photography advert, I started to think it was one of my pals playing a trick. I questioned them all in Clark's last Friday but they were adamant it was none of them. Stumped, I tried to bluff the person by sending them a reply asking for their name and age.

Turns out it wasn't someone playing a trick. Turns out it was a serious email about the photography ad. Turns out I know who the person is (kind of) because I read her blog regularly. Turns out, it's Sarah Swanson of the Bored In Leith blog (see left of page).

So I moved the "swanieslunch" folder out of the Rejected pile and into the In The Running pile and started the process of looking at everyone's online portfolios again. I now have seven people in the running and I don't want to string them along. Some are very impressive, but it's not just good pictures I'm after. I want someone who is free of mind, is not afraid to throw any kind of idea into the pot and is local. I want someone who can handle a good digital camera and can help me interpret my ideas into a damn good book cover. I'll make a final decision tomorrow probably.

When I got home I started the big clean-up operation in my new office. I got hold of some large bin bags and started to throw out all the empty packaging, bubble wrap, cardboard and carpet cuttings. Gail took the bags to the Tip while I made Laura her dinner. She still wasn't back by the time we had finished so I went into my office with the intention of completing the assembly of the cabinet; the drawers and cupboard door needed their handles fitted.

I looked around for the small bag they came in but couldn't see it anywhere. Surely I took the handles out and put them with the other parts? No, it seemed I didn't, which meant only one thing.

I had thrown them out with the rest of the rubbish.

My heart stopped. They were specially ordered chrome handles to finish the furniture off in style. Gail was going to kill me. I tried calling her but her mobile was in the house. I called her pal who went with her, but her mobile was switched off. My only chance of survival would be if the Tip was closed for the holiday.

Eventually she returned; the car now empty of the bin bags. No such luck. I told her, rather sheepishly, what I had done. She shook her head. "You're a twat!"

This little setback didn't stop me from moving the computer into the room and setting it up for use. No problems there, which was just as well.

Remember Life As She Knew It by Leigh Clements? It was one of the short stories in the book, Tall Tales and Short stories Vol.2 that I received from Michelle Miles as part of the network.

Leigh left a comment in Thursday's blog entry asking more about my Great Scottish Writers series, so for Leigh and anyone else interested, here's the rundown.

The editor at KIC wanted to start a series in the weekly newsletter about great historical authors so I suggested I could do a run of some of Scotland's most famous authors, and not just restrict it to historical figures. The first one about Robert Louis Stevenson was published on August 24th.

I've written five more articles for the series; Robert Burns, Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Walter Scott, James Barrie and Irvine Welsh. I was also presented with the opportunity to interview Ian Rankin for a feature article on the KIC website which I am still working on. Hopefully when KIC resumes on Sunday, these articles will start to be published as from next week.

I plan on doing more next month so long as the opportunity is still there, as I also want to write about Janice Galloway, Muriel Spark, Iain Banks, James Boswell, Liz Lochead, Edwin Morgan, Susan Ferrier, Mary Brunton, Catherine Carswell and William Alexander.

It's been great fun to do and very interesting. I've learnt about a lot about Scotland's writing tradition through the research and had my eyes opened to the world of literature that has come out of this country.

Hopefully, I can get myself onto that list too.
Colin 1:03 pm


Have you interviewed the contenders? Emailed back and forth with questions about process and creativity and frames of reference? Or met them at the bar?

You don't have to rush this -- finding the right person is worth it.
Sounds great, Colin! I'll definitely be reading it. By the way, love the wall colour. Very calm-meets-cozy.

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