"Take Action, Mother!"


In Abel Gance's film of Napoleon, our wee Fench hero is at home with his Mum, the enemy forces wild and raging outside his door. "What are you going to do?" she asks him. "Take action, Mother!" Napoleon replies.

That was the mantra for my day. I woke at 5.30 from a dream - at an English department in a university, everyone against me even though I great at the subject. It was easy to project this particular dream into my working life, my sense of producing some of the best writing ever, back in England itself, without that work getting its due regard.

So what to do, but take action! It's back to that old hoary thing of works not getting noticed because they're still in my computer. I printed out a novel today and sent it off to my first editor, one of those rare people in publishing that I trust, now at Headline. And my play, set on the south coast of England, has gone off to the Theatre Royal in Plymouth. That meant a good deal of letter-writing, and trips to the post office. One of the swans saw me coming on my constitutional loop walk and came walking across the field to take bread from my hand ... one of the finest parts of my writing day.

One of the other bleary truths of the day is that healthwise I wasn't up to anything other than such lengthy admin work. I do look forward to a return of a clear and open head in which to let my imagination run loose and free, creative work pouring out. The plus side is that such work is unnecessary at the moment. I have so much work done it's so much better to have it run out there and get itself noticed. I'm about to form a proposal around CROMOZONE too, my unfinished novel, and get that off in the mail. I know it will be immensely more enjoyable to dedicate a few months to completing that book when some editor is keenly awaiting it and has slotted it into a publication schedule.

I used to wonder why books ever needed two titles, one for the US and one for the UK. Now I get to see one reason at least - it's a chance to improve, to go one step better.

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