17 August 2009

An early gift from "Santa"

How like a winter has my absence been!

Time has a way of passing so quickly when you're trying to stay on top of things. And, Dear Reader, I have not been completely honest. I have been utterly shy and evasive about the main drain on my time these days. I have been squirreling away on a new writing project. 

The D.E.B. and I have a very dear friend who is a culinary expert. (He taught the guy, who taught Gordon Ramsay everything he knows!) I have mentioned him here before, as he is the mastermind behind the wonderful culinary evenings the D.E.B. and I have attended at Stratford-upon-Avon College.

Getting to know our friend, Master Chef, over the past year, has revealed that he has a healthy interest in literature, history and theatre; and that I consider myself more than just a passing "foodie". So, we have decided to combine our respective passions and knowledge, and collaborate on a "Shakespeare Cookbook".

And I will confess, it has been a truly wonderful, guilty pleasure! I have no doubt that my friends of the "scholarly, academic" persuasion will be queuing up to scoff at me with disdain... 

Truth be told, I have put as much of my heart and brain into this, as any other project I have pursued. But, the fact that I'm actually having fun, somehow makes it feel less "worthy" than if I were spending hours upon hours slaving over  writing something along the lines of "the performative and deconstructed social realities, abridged discourse, and political anxiety of gendered violence in early, 18th century, Italian productions of Titus Andronicus according to Derrida". 


No more of that for me, thank you very much. I have served my time in the academic trenches, and now, I doing what I please! And I can think of few better ways to spend my time than sitting in my garden, sipping tea, and contemplating the (over 2,000!!) food and culinary references in Shakespeare works.

Master Chef and I are both taking this project very seriously. We have done very good, earnest, and hopefully entertaining, work. And, we've had quite a favorable response so far. Even without a physical, printed text to hand as of yet, we have been invited to preview our work at the Throckmorton Literary Festival next month, at Coughton Court. 

(I cannot say what it meant to me to see my name in print alongside such legends as Kate Adie and David Starkey--a.k.a, the Thinking Girl's Pin Up!)

So, I have been keeping my head down as they say, and getting the work done. At the end of last week, Master Chef and I sent out our first book proposal (to my favorite, UK cookbook publisher), and we'll be getting more proposals out this week. It's a funny old game, a lot of hurry up, and wait...and wait...

This weekend, after a successful trip to the Wellesbourne Post Office, I was feeling quite proud of myself, and had an overwhelmingly uplifting sense of infinite possibility! But, in the bright sunshine of this brisk, Monday morning, I feel the need to brace myself for disappointment.

It sometimes make me wonder why I even bother. All the effort, putting yourself out there, only to get rejection, after rejection, if anything. But still, we keep trying. I think one has to. The only other option to to give up, and not try at all. And that won't do!

Over the weekend, I read an interview with Italian novelist, Santa Montefiore, in W.I. Life magazine. Her words were a gift to me, just when I needed them. She said: "The secret is this. Write what you want."



Vicky said...

sounds great, would love to come and see you in person, but just checked the details and you're on on a school day! PooH!

Anonymous said...

Hi there!

I happen to be a book editor at a major publishing house in New York, and reading about your plans for your manuscript, I felt I should say something. You need to send your project out to literary agents first; not to publishing houses. I realize academic publishing doesn't always work this way, but for mainstream projects, most big houses won't even look at a manuscript that isn't submitted by an agent. Unsolicited manuscripts generally get weeded out and thrown away before they ever reach my mailbox. And even if one does slip by, I don't consider it; there are simply too many projects to make time for one that hasn't gone through the appropriate vetting process.

Best of luck to you! Getting a book published can be a difficult thing, but with the right representation, your chances will be much, much better.

Kneazle1 said...

Wow, a Shakespeare Cookbook sounds awesome. I adore historical cookbooks (a combination of two of my favourite things), it's always so interesting to see what people ate in different periods. Good luck with your endeavours, sounds amazing!