The re-actions of friends and acquaintances to the diversion and pastime of the written word is endlessly curious. Someone should write a book about it.
Upon the completion of the latest epic the author eagerly presents it to the world via routes that are essentially various – and then, obediently follows the sage advice of the PR experts, Those Who Know, and broadcasts the momentous occasion with email bulletins. The re-action can be unexpected but disappointingly is, for the most part, empty silence. Ah but not always, because from time to time, out of the blue, a response hits the inbox that penetrates the warm and wobbly confidence of the would-be writer like a heat seeking missile.
`Please remove me from your data list’ ….. `Don’t email me again’ …. `I have no wish to receive this information’
And, naturally enough, the following trickle of less aggressive and sometimes even supportive responses will never remain as vividly in the memory.
But then again I suppose you can never really know what others feel about you. Many years ago and long before the birth of the internet, I decided to abandon my then current obsession with the rocky coal-face of alternative education and give more of my attention to writing. First of all I would join a local writers group and so I turned for helpful advice to a friend who was, quite rightly, basking in the glory of a successful first novel.
`What do I have to do to join?’ I was breathless with enthusiasm and deflation took a moment or two to infiltrate when, dismissing my articles on differentiated programmes for dyslexic learners, she responded with barely concealed antagonism, `Well first of all you have to write something of literary worth…..’
Until that moment I had actually believed that she liked me just as much as I liked her.