Sometimes I feel the only way I can get a major publisher interested in mental illness is if I find a character who has bipolar disorder and is also a love-sick vampire attending an English school called Hogwarts. But I’m not giving up.
What winning is to me is not giving up, is no matter what’s thrown at me, I can take it. And I can keep going.
It doesn’t take much for me to question my unerring belief in fate and destiny which makes me wonder how strong that belief is in the first place. One rejection from one agent and one loss at the hands of the Northern Writers awards makes me doubt myself so much and I wonder why, when I believe in my story and I know deep down the idea is strong and original and is a good read. I think the rejection from the NWA is the hardest to take because I had convinced myself that the powers of coincidence and the gods of the universe were surely directing me towards that moment; even the demon masters of astrology were pointing me in that direction but maybe they have just jumped the gun, maybe the true story is just around the corner. There is a whole list of agents, competitions, publishers out there that I haven’t even begun exploring so how can I contemplate throwing in the towel now; if I believe that much then I just have to keep on going. Which brings me to Patrick Swayze. My mum has lung cancer but she’s old and she was a heavy smoker. At 83 they gave her a round of chemo and radiotherapy but they told her this week that her cancer is growing again and the first thing she did after hearing this news is to go home and make a batch of strawberry jam; jars and jars of it that will probably live long after she has departed this earth and still every Saturday when I take her shopping she puts her lottery tickets on and every week without fail I wonder why. I want to say to her, explaining patiently like I would to one of my children, there’s no point in winning the lottery when in a few months time you are going to die. Then I came across this quote by Patrick Swayze who we all know died of cancer and it made me realise that while there is breath in my body and while I believe in what I write and while I continue to write and try to support my children then I have no right to give up or give in. The same as Patrick didn’t give up even when he knew he was living on borrowed time and the same as my mum doesn’t give up even though she knows she is dying. And if Pete Earley can keep going then so can I.