Three sleeps off

How do I feel? I ask. I’m in awe that something as vast and sprawling as this is finish-able, at least so it can be launched and other people will see it, and judge it, and use it. I remember stumbling along the kilometre or so of cracked suburban footpaths from my home to my then agent, carrying a weighty cardboard box that the veggies had come in, but now full of pages of the unpublishable Leaning Towards Infinity – but I was resigned to that – and looking down at those toppling piles and feeling astonished it had come to this, this cardboard box of neat pages, but also guilty, as if my finishing this vast thing had somehow stolen something from other, worthier people, something undeserved, as if there’s only so much finishing to go around, and somehow I’d stolen an untoward bit of it. But awe – I feel awe that Bob Carr has agreed to launch us, that when offered no doubt a dozen interesting things to do this coming Wednesday evening, he’s supposed to have said of Wuthering Ink – “Like it.” I know he reads – one year I was head of the fiction judging panel for the Christina Stead Award, the Premier’s Award, and was told – by whom I don’t remember, if I ever knew – to write comments for his speech on the short-listed books, which I duly did, and which he duly dismissed for he didn’t need someone else’s comments, he’d read all the books. His comments, which I listened to with great interest, were excellent, sophisticated, perceptive. He’s one of those wonderful people, a reader – and not just of non-fiction, which blokes seem to think more manly, or of blokes’ fiction, for there were many women’s books on that short list, and he’d read them regardless of gender – something that many of my male author friends would never do, would never read my books because they are “women’s books”- so they tell me that their wives like my work, and that’s ok, it has to be ok, for only women read women’s work, while we women read both men and women’s work. What are men afraid of in women’s work? that we’ll talk about life in the kitchen? There are some men who know our canvas is as big as anyone’s, and Bob Carr is one.

I’m in awe that we’re hearing things about the site like thank you and congratulations. In awe that a yearning in white hotel room five years ago has unfurled, leapt out, and transmogrified into this, in awe that I’ve lived to see it happen, when so many, maybe nearly all, yearnings of other people never get fulfilled in their lifetimes. And that all those insurmountable difficulties, those sleep wrecking, nerve-wracking, exasperating impossibilities have become this thing, a thing, a real, almost living thing with its own life and its own future, for who knows where now it will go. No doubt many bad things will be said, but so far, at the moment, good things. In awe that despite the departure of dear Libby and dear Louise – what grief-filled days those were, but how I achingly understood why they gave up – in awe that what’s become the three of us are easy with each other, that we haven’t fallen out, that we live with each others’ foibles and faults, and that we’ll celebrate together. In awe that my daughter, once sick and helpless in that hotel bed, has made our Facebook page, has helped and instructed me, the luddite who had so much to learn, while we worked through hundreds of typos, infelicities of expression and grammar and far, far worse, the multitudinous dysfunctions in that never ending but marvellous document that readers will never see but authors will know so well, the automated author form – a brilliant idea of Bem’s and Jan’s, but what a bugger to implement, at least a year’s daily grind, minute by minute – and how this daughter is still talking to me, and is bringing her friends to the launch – “See?” she’ll tell them. “I helped to make it.” And Gordon, my partner, who many times has sighed,and let’s admit it, groaned over my obsession, will be there, and still talking to me.

Now, well after midnight and the council street cleaners preparing for the day, and I’m thinking about this once-in-a-lifetime – please never let me never do such a work again – this maddening, foolish, endless odyssey, and I’m asking myself how do I feel? In awe.

So this is what it’s like

We’ve slipped out. We’re slipping out, emailing author friends, showing them the site, asking them to join. For 24 shining hours I felt that I was now ready to die with joy. Then the videos started playing up again, perfection” so hard to maintain, but MPS fixed them in thee days. (we’d held up the… Continue Reading

Through Gritted Teeth Is anyone out there still reading this never-ending story?- perhaps only those trying like us to set up a very interactive website with emails and skype session between two countries. Be warned. It all started innocently with book subject categories being generated by Thorpe Bowker and put in both the authorform and… Continue Reading

Coming to a crunch

Do all new, excited enterprises face this? First, there’s no one else who would rather die than not do this, but you. So you get down and do it, hoping family and friends won’t notice you’re missing. Some time later, some long time later, you say, well, it’ll manage by itself if I go away… Continue Reading

When looks matter

Many authors had criticised the lack-lustre “look” of our public site. The site and its looks had been “given” to us. We accepted such an amazing gift with utter gratitude  –  how else were we to obtain a website but by an extremely generous gift? We’re authors, and financilaly we live as authors. Ahead was… Continue Reading

Asking the family for help

  Sometimes help comes out of the blue. The digitizers had asked us to test the authorform and the new Help page one last time. Since Kitty and I had re-written the automated Authorform several times, and the Help page once, I knew we’d lost objectivity. I didn’t like to ask author colleagues, in case… Continue Reading

A Festival of Ideas

  We’re counting down the days now. Rosemary Sorensen, who’s organizing the 2014 Bendigo Writers’ Festival, says that Wuthering Ink will be like a Festival of Ideas. The Wuthering Ink Festival has been a long time coming, for a long journey ago  it was just a pale hope in a white hotel room turned sick… Continue Reading

Really, truly almost

So…many months later… we’re live, but not perfect. Well, who is? But we’ve begun in a tiny way with a  little family of very patient, well-known authors- and who learns patience with publishing better than authors! – their books have pretty covers – some generic covers, designed by Jan in reference to the original, very… Continue Reading

Inching towards almost

So many details. Who’d have thought there was so much thinking put into those online forms we all fill in every day without ever singing one hymn to their creators? Getting a form right that our authors will fill in with not a thought about the hard-thinking logic behind it- unless it doesn’t work! – has taken many dinners , several long email… Continue Reading