Moving house all week took the pain away from knowing that the editor and another Fremantle Press associate were about to take my manuscript to a 'pitch' meeting on Tuesday. Apparently this is when they sit down with the number crunchers and executives and persuade them that my manuscript is going to be a viable proposition.
I was unpacking old journals and diaries (the ones that survived the fire) and had fallen into a teary maudlin state that besets me whenever I 'accidentally' open one of those time bombs and start reading. An interesting juxtaposition when I think about how that incident with the diaries changed me as a writer.
Georgia, the editor, rang me.
I bin signed.
I had to walk around in circles and swear quite a bit, before sitting down. Tom Stephenson reckons I yelled at him on his blog and that his ears are still ringing. But he was very nice about it.
In July last year I sent Fremantle Press the unfinished book, which was a bit of a narratorial shambles when I think back. They said, "Yes, you are onto something here. Now go away and finish it and then rewrite it." In the months towards the end of last year I rewrote the whole book. If the Old Salt book were a 1974 HG Holden, you would call it a total rebuild. Then 'finished'. Printed.
I suddenly got the heebie jeebies and rang the editor. "I can't send it. I've just realised I haven't written a story about sardines. I've gotta get on a sardine boat. That will take at least another few weeks." It is quite horrifying looking at a pile of printed pages and thinking, 'This is it and I'm not ready.' Artists do it. Stonemasons do it. Even game hunters and seine netters do it. We all think, 'Is this the best I can do? Because I'm not getting another shot for a while.'
She said, "Get it off your desk, Sarah and send it to me."