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Hello and dear all,

A strange thing happened to me the other day, I received a letter. “What’s strange about that?” I hear you ask. Well, I’ll tell you. It’s strange for two reasons (1) because since having children I no longer receive post addressed to me. It’s like I no longer exist. I went into labour over eight years ago and was simultaneously made to disappear from society. My identity was changed, even my name was swapped for the more general label of ‘Mummy’ but the other reason this letter was strange, numero (2), is that it was from an agent and I hadn’t even made a submission! “Yeah fair enough that is strange,” you agree.

When I opened up the envelope I discovered that they did indeed have my work and now I was really confused. I hadn’t sent out submissions in ages, what was it all about? I looked on my ‘List of Agents’ prepared way back when (organised or what!) and this particular one was recorded as having been sent out on 9th September 2011. It had taken eight months YES EIGHT to receive a reply. This is a record as far as submission go for me. I’ve waited over six months before and I thought that was pushing it! In fairness it was a really lovely worded letter but it was still a rejection and, more importantly, a rejection I felt I hadn’t opened myself up for because I’d written off ever receiving a response.

When I finally realised what had happened (basically they said it had been with lots of agents while they tried to come to a decision about whether it would work for them or not. I read between the lines and concluded they had popped it in a drawer instead of the bin in error and had just discovered it) I was okay. I said to myself “Well, that’s fine, it’s not going to be for everyone is it? I’ve changed the story quite a lot since then anyway and I’ve published it myself. Lots of people have loved it so it really doesn’t matter. No need for upset or negativity. It’s all still good.” However, the next day I didn’t feel quite so good and it was playing on my mind. I’ve continued to get things done since then and have even managed to meet with the Team Young Adult Librarian to set up and facilitate an adult writing group, which is fantastic news. I am preparing advertising for the Waterstones, Hatfield signing event and I am mentally packing for our fast approaching holiday. As far as I was concerned, I’d pretty much moved on from the unsettling incident.

Then, last night, I had a dream. I was standing in a park (don’t ask me why) and the sun was shining (even less likely). A woman came up to me holding an envelope.

“I have your submission here,” she told me, holding it up for me to see and then sliding out the the contents.

“Are you going to read it in front of me?” I asked feeling nervous and horribly vulnerable.

“Well…that’s my job,” she smiled and then she did just that. When the painful wait was over she smiled again and said. “Well done. I like it! Now send me the whole thing and mark the envelope ‘Entertainment’ .That will ensure it gets to me and makes it through the filtering process.” The dream is slightly sketchy here but I’m pretty sure some dancing and screaming was involved. “And I absolutely love this!” she suddenly exclaimed. “This is the best thing I’ve ever read. I want much more of this. Well done you!”

I wondered what could have excited her so much and reached forward to take the document she was beaming all over (and continuing to love like you wouldn’t believe!) She let me have  a look and when I cast my eyes over it a cold rock formed in my stomach. The document she had pulled out from my submission and had quoted as ‘The best bit about the whole thing’ was actually someone else’s. It had been caught up with mine…and I had no choice but to be honest.

“That’s not mine,” I told her sadly. She frowned and glanced over it again as if that might miraculously change the minor embarrassing point. But, even after looking again, the dream reality was that this piece of work was not mine, it was better than mine…much, much better than mine.

“Oh, well, never mind,” she told me like she felt sorry for me. “I must find who it belongs to though because I REALLY want to represent this author! This is going places! This is rare! This is…”

THIS IS where I woke myself up because she was getting on my sodding nerves now! I mean even in a dream, how bitchy can you get???

In a post dream state, and having had time to contemplate what it all means, I conclude that the experience was a manifestation of some serious insecurities. Basically my sub-conscious is asking, am I good enough to cut it? I know there will always be people better than me (that’s life) but will I still be able to compete against that and hold my own? The dream I had last night was my ‘In-security blanket’. I might have left the old, tattered blue and white crochet one from my childhood days behind but, sadly, I replaced it with this other more resilient and less sympathetic one. It’s not cuddly, it’s not reassuring, it’s unlikely to get lost (no matter how hard I try) but it did give me a good reason for a blog post and that’s always a good thing!

Cheers guys and remember (unless you are some famous author having your books made into film right now) you’re not alone and if you’re struggling, I truly feel your pain! 🙂

Take care from me. Jess 🙂

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