Monday, 14 September 2009

Pollyanna Time: N M Browne


For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, I live more by the academic year than the calendar one. The first hint of autumn in the air, the chill winds, the shortening days and I get an unseasonal burst of energy, a desire to make new resolutions, dye my hair some unnatural shade of russet and buy a new pair of glossy, conker-coloured boots.
This year my first and most significant resolution is to enjoy what I do. No longer will I angst over the demise of the mid list or whinge about the parlous state of sales. I refuse to be envious of top sellers or bitter when my name is absent from short lists. I am going to enjoy the moments when I have a story I want to tell and the leisure to tell it. Autumn is always a reminder that things will probably get worse; colder, bleaker, darker so I am going to enjoy the last lingering golden days of sunshine and have fun.
Secondly, I am going to stop making crazy resolutions (I’m not including the above resolution in that category whatever you might think.) I know I’m not going to be up and dressed and working first thing in the morning. I am rubbish in the mornings and my brain does not come on line until significant amounts of caffeine have been imbibed, until I have listened to the Today programme, skimmed the paper and surfed the net. I am very unlikely to write a thousand words every day – I never have so why should this year be different? I am going to write what I can when I can and wherever I can and not beat myself up when the quality is a little bit dodgy either.
Thirdly, I am going to read more teenage fiction and enjoy the skill and talent of my fellow writers. I am going to be glad to be living in an age when such good books are available instead of depressed by the quality and quantity of ‘the competition.’ I am going to be pleased when my books are in stock, not cross when they aren’t. I am going to smile benignly when people ask me whether I’ve ever been published or thought of writing a real book - for adults. I am going to laugh in a warm, friendly and entirely non hostile way when someone asks if I’m going to be the next JK Rowling. In short I am going to be a veritable peri- menopausal Pollyanna. I think I’ll be happier.
Watch this space...

7 comments:

Anne Cassidy said...

Oh dear, so far to fall.....

Michael Malone said...

here's to pollyannas everywhere. I'm certain it will all work well for you.

Charlie Butler said...

That picture of Pollyanna is quite creepy! Makes me think of Village of the Damned...

But I applaud the sanity of your resolutions, and good luck!

Anne Rooney said...

I have been quite good at all these things in the past (I have bad years, but generally I'm ridiculously optimistic and cheerful). It has its downside. The phrase my mother used most frequently through my childhood was 'wipe that inane grin off your face, child' and ever since people have assumed I'm shallow, naive, unambitious or just stupid. There is no intellectual capital in being cheerful or pleased with what you have. How will the world change if we are complacent and pleased with what we have? How can you be happy when disaster x is about to happen/already happening?

I'm NOT saying don't follow these resolutions - just be prepared for the criticism or disbelief. Arm yourself with some smart-ass responses. And then smile benignly and tolerantly, because they - poor things - are destined to spend their life in miserable whingeing.

Gillian Philip said...

I resolve I will selectively cherrypick your resolutions, and go particularly for that one about not stressing about failing to start work at 6am when there's the Today prog to listen to, coffee to be drunk and Facebook to be er, faced.

Dead right, Charlie, that is a Midwich Cuckoo, and I should know because I have two of my own.

Lucy Coats said...

I applaud you, Nicky. Don't beat yourself up for only doing what comes most naturally AFTER caffeine. An excellent and timely reminder to do some things you want (rather than things you ought) for a change. Go forth and be Pollyanna!

Katherine Langrish said...

Thanks, Nicky! And I NEVER manage a 1000 words a day either. The very idea!