especially on days like this. Bright, crisp, clear, blue, shiny, cold, GORGEOUS!

made even more pleasurable by an afternoon at Tate Modern followed by coming home to an email from Editor saying “this is a work of genius, your book is utterly brilliant.”
OK, no, she didn’t say that. But she did say some things she loves and some she really likes and it was generally a very positive response, with way more detail to come and good work for me to do on the second draft*. Phew.
Also had a call today from Film Agent who LOVES book and LOVES lead character and is really excited (halfway through) to finish it.
I think this says everything about their different roles. Editor and Book Agent have to sell the book. They can be positive and kind and generous and friendly, but above all, their job is to sell the book. And they therefore need it to be the best book it can be. Which wants input and time and consideration and more work. That’s fine with me. Therefore they don’t do a lot of LOVING it until it’s a bit further down the line**.
Film Agent on the other hand, doesn’t really have to sell this. She has to sell, not the actual words on the page, but the idea of it. What it might be when it’s gone through loads more morphing processes from manuscript to script to screen. So she can LOVE at this point, long before they can. Though later on, when – if – it does become another thing, then her loving tempers to something more constructive, if less delightful to the ear!! I do find the way people respond to work – and why they respond differently at different stages, aside from personal preference – really interesting.

* this is THEIR first draft. It is not MY first draft. MY first draft is only ever seen by me. Then I work on it, so that’s my 2nd draft. Then it goes to Agent and I get her notes. Then I work on it. So that’s my 3rd draft. THEN it goes to Editor – so what she and Film Agent are reading is actually MY 3rd draft. Just their 1st.

** actually, Editor did once send me an email, some years ago, that just said “I ****ing Love this book.” That was a GOOD day. But I also suspect you can only get that once in every dozen books or so!

Some other splendid things happened today too.
Me and the Mrs had lunch at Tate Modern with our gorgeous friend Mary, and together we all went to see the Rothko and the Cildo Meireles exhibitions. Lucky lucky us for living in London and a two-stop train ride from Tate Modern. I love Rothko anyway, and could sit in that big room with the wonderful wonderful reds murals for ages. They just make me smile. They’re so big and audacious and daring and WARM. What a joy to be in their presence.
Then the Cildo Meireles was an extra bonus. It’s (sadly) had nowhere near as much press as the Rothko, not that that meant there weren’t loads of people there. And it’s brilliant. There are things to do, touch, crunch, roll, lift, feel. I love art that has things to do, that gets us (literally, physically) engaged. There’s a real theatrical quality to that kind of work that hugely appeals to me. It’s only on at the Tate until the 11th, so Londoners, you have 2 more days. GO!

And now I’m off for an entire weekend at Improbable’s D&D.
Devoted & Disgruntled
I’ve been to each of the yearly ones, and I hosted one of the Shunt D&D’s. And while I really like the Open Space form, and feel it’s as much that form that makes it a valuable gathering, I also feel that the January big D&D is just a great way (for me) to start the year. This time I’m aware that, having been to several before, I don’t have a nervousness about how it will be, and who will be there – I know neither of those things really matter – but I do have an awareness that while I don’t know what’s coming over the weekend, I expect I will like (at least most of) it whatever it turns out to be. Which is a pretty good way to start I think.

But really, phew.