The manuscript changes are in, the tweaks (over 500 of them) have been completed and the new version of Finding Rachel Davenport has been uploaded. That’s one of the upsides of the digital revolution: a book can be edited even after it has been published (though having a flexible and understanding publisher helps; I wouldn’t expect HarperCollins to pull off something like this.)
To those who volunteered to steer me safely through the reefs and shoals of British culture, I offer a huge Thank You! Your input was invaluable and I am forever indebted to you all.
I’m hoping, however, that this wasn’t a mistake; the only people who complained about the “Americanisms” were the British and, according to my publisher, they aren’t buying the book, anyway. Mostly, it’s Americans buying the book (by a margin of about 100 to 1) so fixing the book to benefit people who aren’t buying it at the expense of people who are might not have been the smartest business move. What I am hoping, obviously, is that the Brits will forgive my mutilation of their language and begin downloading copies in their thousands, and that the Americans have watched enough Downton Abbey to catch on to the changes.
At any rate, it’s done and I’m glad I did it; it is a much better book now, having received the dusting and polishing it should have had prior to publication—an omission that was entirely my fault. Lesson learned; time to move on.
As predicted, now that I am starting my third month of redundancy, it is beginning to dawn on me that I don’t have to go to work anymore. It’s a strange, mildly frightening experience that has me feeling curiously bereft; a part of my life—a rather large part—has suddenly gone away, never to return. Granted, it wasn’t a part of my life I was always happy about, but it provided a comforrting routine and helped marked the passing of the weeks; now, I only realize it is the weekend when 8 AM rolls around and my wife hasn’t left for work yet.
To combat this, and to stave off my sinking into lethargy, I have instituted a new routine that has me going to my “office” every morning, sitting down with a cup of coffee by 6 AM and getting to work. And what has helped this is that I actually have an office to go to, even if my commute is only twelve steps down the hallway.
The act of getting up every morning to the alarm (now that I’m retired I have a lie-in; the alarm goes off at 5:30 instead of 5) getting dressed (casual, no tie) and going to a room where I can shut the door, sit down at a desk (ok, it’s actually a table) gives structure to my day and a feeling of purpose and accomplishment. Also, starting at 6—even with an hour-long break for breakfast and a fiddle with Twitter—means I can finish by noon and still put in a 25-hour week. Not bad for being an out-of-work skiver.
This is the fourth “office” I have had since moving here, and it is interesting (well, to me, at least) to note the progression:
Office Number 1: Back in the days of PCs with monitors and CPUs—remember them? In the background is my auxiliary office where I sit and contemplate; I’m happy to report that office is still in operation.
Office Number 2: The front seat of the 17 bus to Brighton. In a way, this was the most efficient office; I was locked in for an hour every morning and I had nothing to do but write. I wrote four books while sitting there.
Office Number 3: When I went part-time, I set up shop at the end of the dining table. I was only there for a year and a half but I wrote one book and published another during that time.
Office Number 4: This is where I am now, with views of the car park and the comings and goings of the bin men, contractors and people with real jobs.
This current office—in an actual room with a sofa for lounging and reading and enough floor space for thoughtful pacing—is where my real career as a writer begins. If I work hard and get some breaks, perhaps my next office will look like this: