Happy Easter, my friends!
Normally Easter Sunday sees me locked in a resentful face-off with a boiled egg because I am unable to eat sugar and thus cannot stuff my face with chocolate.
Naturally, it is always the boiled egg’s fault. Or, I will spend the day trying to outwit my parents’ dog Grouse, whose determination to steal any chocolate stored within four feet of the floor is matched only by the determination of Simon Cowell to fill the world with dreadful music.
This year, however, I have to say I’ve barely even noticed that it’s Easter. I’m grateful to Jesus, obviously, but I’m afraid that right now my attention has been taken up by matters far more self-centred; namely the fact that my book is out in four days.
(ARGHHHHHHHHHHH. Sounds of retching. Scenes of hair-clutching and nervous yawning. Groaning of stomach; shortness of breath; madness of eye.)
It would be reasonable to say I’m terrified.
As I ate my bacon sandwich this morning (see? I forgot it was even Easter. Not so much as an eggcup in my life today) I tried to work out why I’m so nervous and had to conclude; albeit reluctantly, that it’s because I am a praise-hungry loser. I’m terrified of it being hated; of my precious first novel turning out to be an international worstseller.
“Hi,” I whispered in the shower earlier. “I’m Lucy Robinson and I’m a failed novelist!”
It didn’t feel great.
It’s silly really. My publishers have raved about it; the people who helped with research loved it; magazines have written great things about it. What the hell is my problem?
My problem is that I want EVERYONE TO LOVE IT. To love it so much that they would gladly give away their firstborn if so doing would allow them another precious second in the company of my book. I want people clutching at me with tears in their eyes; stammering their deepest and most heartfelt thanks for my kindness in writing such an exceptional tome. I want book reviewers to resign from their positions because they know they will never read a book of this magnitude again; that their career has reached its zenith.
I have a vague sense that this is not going to happen.
It was brought to my attention recently that there is rather a lot of swearing in my novel; a fact that had genuinely escaped my notice. However this discovery did not trouble me until I arrived at The Man’s parents’ house on Friday for an Easter stay and his Mum announced that her pre-ordered copy had already arrived and that she was eight chapters in.
The world stopped turning. “WHAT?” I gasped, horrified. I shot a look at The Man that was designed to say “HOW HAS THIS HAPPENED?? I told you not to allow your parents anywhere near it! There’s swearing! And Sex! And monstrous stupidity!” The Man shot back a look that said “You told me to tell everyone I know about your book. Shut up, you ungrateful turd.”
I looked back at his Mum, who was getting glasses out of a cupboard and possibly avoiding my eye. “Um, sorry about all the swearing” I began, somewhat lamely. But when a book contains that much swearing it’s not really possible to claim that it was an accident so I just sort of trailed off.
The Man’s Mum, who is lovely, smiled kindly. “Well, it’s now how I was brought up, but don’t worry!” she said. (At this I died.) “Lots of great writers were all about swearing and rudeness… I mean, look at Chaucer!”
And there it was. My get out of jail free card. I wanted to hug her! Chaucer! Of COURSE!
Chaucer’s lanaguage was abominable! I mean for God’s sake, his male heroes grabbed their prospective mates ‘by the queynt!’ (You can work out what this word means.) And there was all sorts of filthy frotting and terrible language in his work! But is he not one of the greatest writers in the canon of English literature? Taught to scholars the world over?
The Man’s mother has basically saved my ass. She’s given me Chaucer. I can now fend off any accusations of lewd, crude authorship and instead explain to people – in the patient tones employed by the literary elite – that I am merely Chaucerian in style. I am Geoffrey Robinson, bawdy and hilarious; DEFINITELY not foul-mothed and disgusting.
I think in my final four days before publication I shall suspend publicity-related activities and instead turn my attention to growing medieval boils on my nose. And developing strong body odour and a wenchy sort of demeanour.
It might just save me. But just in case, pray for me, friends. Pray for me. X