The book was rejected.
I knew, deep down, that it would be, but it still hurt. The rejection letter, however, is still one the most uplifting I have ever received. I still have it. In fact, I have all of them, either hard copies or e-mails. And there are quite a few. They only re-enforce my determination to carry on.
And carry on I did.
I remember coming up with a story which I thought was good. This time, I actually sat down and planned it, which was rare for me in those days. Often it was just a case of me sitting down and hammering away at the old Olivetti. Did I mention this was my brother’s typewriter? No, probably not. He was not amused when he discovered that I was putting it to such excessive us.
Well, anyway, this story. I had high hopes for it, and the first draft simply oozed out from underneath the ribbon, a little like a lasagne maker, all smooth and perfect. Good enough to eat! OK, I exaggerate…but only a little! I was so pleased with it that I decided to employ a professional typist to get it ready for publication.
Yes, you read that correctly.
I was actually willing to pay money to have it beautifully collated and prepared.
I went to see this person, who had one of those huge, impressive golf-ball machines. Don’t know if you remember these, but they were the peak of type-writing technology in those days. She showed me copies of university dissertations she had done, and they looked wonderful. So clean, so neat. When I thought back to my ‘Tippex’ covered bits of rag, I felt humbled. This woman was perfect! So, I explained the situation. I was an author (EEK!) and wanted my story word-perfect. I pointed out that, because it was a work of fiction, it may well contain some swearing, perhaps some violence, and a spattering of…sex.
Now, it was at this point that I noted the raising of one eyebrow. She didn’t look up, just held my tatty manuscript in her hands, head down. But that eyebrow should have warned me.
She gave me her rates, which were not excessive, so I asked her to go ahead.
About a fortnight later, she called at my house. She had done the first few pages. They looked…sublime. I had an urge to bow down and kiss her feet. I resisted. Of course, these first few pages did not contain any of the afore mentioned swearing, violence or…sex.
Buoyed up, I thanked her – paid her – and off she went, telling me she would be in touch.
I never heard from her again.
I’m not sure why. I tried phoning her, but no reply. I even went around to her house, but no answer. She was obviously in; the car was in the drive, the curtains open. It could have been a scene from one of my thrillers…a murder mystery perhaps, ‘The disappearance of the stern-secretary’…who knows. Whatever the reason, I never met her again.
I have long suspected it was all that swearing. Or the violence. But surely not the sex? No…surely not!
I still have that story in a box somewhere, along with a lot of others. Perhaps one day I will resurrect them. Time will only tell.
For now, however, time was moving on. I was drifting from one dead-end job (when I could get one) to the next. I decided it was time to get an education, so at 29 years of age, I went back to school. Night school. Two years of that got me into University, and another fours later and I was a qualified teacher.
But the urge to write still persisted. No, wrong word – dominated!
You can find details about me and my books on my website (which is about to be revamped) on www.horroronthecosta.com, or on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Just put in a search for Stuart G Yates, or Glenn Stuart if you prefer horror! I hope you like what you see.