At the risk of sounding like a cynical old hack, I have to pause here and say a resounding - SO WHAT?
But there's always a part of me that counters with - I did my best, wrote the best book I could possibly write, tried to give it heart, leaven it with humour and illustrate it with the very best drawings I could draw, so THAT'S what. In the general scheme of things, yeah, so what, but in my little corner of the planet, if our children are the living arrows we fire into the fray, then our books are darts of light.
And besides, there are some truly groan-makingly terrible jokes between the covers of my Witch Baby, and watching childrens' faces light up as they get my dreadful jokes and seeing their faces dissolve into giggles - that's good too. I've also had a really, really good time, introducing new, young eight-year-old readers to my imaginary family and watch as they allow their imaginations to flesh out the characters that walk around inside my head - that's pretty close to flying, actually. Damn, I think my job is one of the best jobs a person can do. As a session with children progresses, I feel less nervous ( let's not forget here, people, that launching a book is still public speaking, even if it is with children rather than adults, and I still find the first introductory ten minutes to be a nail-biting nightmare of stage-fright and terror. As would you, I promise. Unless you have cojones of steel.)and once I stop feeling nervous, then I can begin to fly. And Witch Baby is an easy book to fly with. Which came as something of a joyful surprise.
So I've done three days in London, trucking hither and yon in the bowels of the Underground, emerging dripping ( it's not air-conditioned down there) eating out for every meal, drinking mojitos at night at the end of a long day, limping around in pointy shoes ( the downside of touring is the wardrobe crises from hell that I undergo - what to wear. Oh, what to wear?) and talking, talking, talking.
Now, on a crammed to capacity train heading back North I think I've had more than enough of not being home. I'm tired, my tolerance levels are well into the red zone due to the presence of a crew of rugger buggars who got on at Durham and have been steadily drinking their way North. Their crass, woman-baiting t-shirts, their loud shouty voices and awful porn mags, their burping, farting and swearing.... - I know I'm sitting here looking like a vengeful, mean old harpy, shrivelled and shrewish, but if I could hit the ejector switch and launch them all into hyperspace, trust me, i'd do it. Big, drunken loutsh thugs, trampling all over everyone's sensitivities and forcing their thick and oikish inanities down all our throats. Oh, ghoddddddd.
where's my loving-kindnesss, then?
Pfffffffff, as one of my characters would say. It hardly needs to be said that she is a witch, a Sister of Hiss and that like her two other sisters, she must represent some less than generous facet of my personality - my Inner Bitch. A useful facet, at times, but not one that sees the light of day too often.