No, not me - well, I am, but no more or less than usual.
I was on the train to Colchester on Thursday, where I'm Royal Literary Fund Fellow. I made the train with two seconds to spare, sat down opposite an oldish man and remarked on nearly missing it. I'm happy to talk to people on trains, but I also needed to get some work done, so it wasn't good when he took this as a signal that he could talk to me for the next half hour. It got worse.
OM: What are you doing? Marking or proof-reading?
Me: Editing. [Not telling him what - young adult novel manuscript.]
...[ He tells me tales of his exploits as a proof-reader. I kid you not.]
OM: I write children's books now.
[I look interested at last.]
OM: I'm not published yet.
[Warning sign; I try to look uninterested after all]
Me: What kind?
[He proceeds to explain to me that cross-over books are read by adults and children; I pretend I don't know this.]
Me: Tell me about one of them.
[He tells me the start of something in verse about a princess.]
Me: That's not a cross-over novel. [Should have shut up, but momentarily forgot.]
[He tells me how it gets rude, so it must be - it's more suitable for adults later on. I say nothing - there really is nothing to say. He tells me about another one, in which a mother inadvertently names her child after a poisonous fungus.]
OM: I'm looking for someone with a contact at a publisher now.
[He looks hopeful; I cross out a whole paragraph that was probably OK, but it makes me look busy and decisive.]
OM: I know an illustrator: I gave her her first commission.
[He implies she is indebted to him as he tells me about some hapless art student who drew him a logo for something, and it was never used.]
OM: Now she illustrates a series of school books. She earns more than her sister, who is a hospital doctor. I'll ask her to talk to her publisher.
[Oh dear, poor girl.]
Me: Illustrators don't usually earn that much.
And so on... I wondered whether to direct him to SCBWI, but decided SCBWI had done nothing to deserve it. At last, he got off the train. Phew. I went off to talk to my students about their short stories and film scripts and experimental fiction.
We all know what will happen. Next year's big hits will be a rude cross-over novel in verse about a princess and a story about someone who inadvertently names their child after a poisonous fungus. And I will carry on earning much less than a hospital doctor, for all my long list of publishers, and my creative-writing students will earn nothing at all...