Monday, October 30, 2006


Bad news from my agent yesterday - things are not sounding at all hopeful. The vacuum cleaner remains unlocated. My parents' visit has been postponed until I am feeling less of a misery. It would, we agreed, be better to wait until after the dismal anniversary on the 11th.

In the meantime I am tempted by a job as a post-doctoral researcher in the department of chemistry at Liverpool for which I seem to be ideally qualified (albeit a long time ago now). The only trouble is if I were to get this job (which sounds so very interesting) I think it would take all of my energy. As much as I would like to pretend to myself I would still write (in my 'spare time') I don't think I would. The deadline is tomorrow so I have just today to decide.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...a raving autumn shears
Blossom from the summer's wreath..."

Somewhere in a time that we can't reach, two children are kneeling, playing a duet on recorders.


And now, Clare, what have you done?

Have you applied?

Or no?

Tue Oct 31, 03:43:00 pm  
Blogger Lee said...

Clare, please don't give up. Please don't despair. You write so well.

Tue Oct 31, 03:49:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marly: everytime I read that my insides wrench. But thank you - it's cathartic.

I have not applied. I kept getting stuck on the bit that said 'present employment' - and all I could think of putting was 'writing blog'.

Thanks Lee - you are kind. Even though you deny it.

Tue Oct 31, 05:50:00 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

Somewhere in a time we can't reach...that phrase echoes, makes you ache.. and children, kneeling like statues, the high simple sound of recorders..

Tue Oct 31, 06:13:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clare, I don't know what happened on the 11th, but my thoughts and sympathies are with you.

Postdoctoral job will probably also not pay well -- a factor to consider.

You seem a very energetic and productive person to me -- many of the posts you write on your blog have obviously required a lot of research, have involved travelling around, or interviewing someone, some form of synthesis, and are intensely readable.

All that and your books too.

I suppose I am looking at your life from a different point of view, but it seems to me that if you can eat while writing your blog and other writing, then you are in a plesant and fertile situation. But what do I know -- the grass is always greener?

It is interesting how the world divides up into those who instantly understand what one means by "writing blog" and those who haven't a clue but think it is something vaguely nasty. (See Debra's thanks message about her birthday greetings on the deblog -- sums it up very well. I like your HB post to her by the way!)

Tue Oct 31, 07:24:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Friday 11th November 2005 my brother died. He was just 41. It happened very quickly over a couple of days and it is my ardent hope he didn't know what happened to him. His liver had failed - brought on partly by alcoholism but also the anti-depressants some psychiatrist had given him. Even his GP was astonished. He just hadn't seemed that bad.

The thing I wanted to do most of all was dedicate this book to him. Memory has become important to me. As I started writing this final version a fortnight after he died it is what I saw in the front. It spurred me on.

Tonight I learnt that my editor thinks that it is best book I've written but cannot publish it because they don't think it will sell enough copies and they've lost enough money on me already.

I feel better now that I know. The wait was worse.

But you are right Maxine: I have food in my stomach, a family that I adore - and I write, research and blog. What more could I want? Not the money (although a post-doc's salary - £27 000 - £28 000 seems like riches to me -I have never been a big earner despite my qualifications).

No, it is not that. I feel I need to do something with my life. I need to hold my head up - say I am this or that. I suppose I'm looking for a label. At the moment I feel I am in some no man's land inbetween - I know it's not of my making but that doesn't make it feel any better.

Tue Oct 31, 08:41:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And Jan: Lovely linking - thank you.

Tue Oct 31, 08:50:00 pm  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Hi Clare,
I was going to write something else here, but I've just read what you've written about your brother and it now seems rather insignificant. You take care over the next couple of weeks.
p.s Thanks for keeping an eye on my inanimate blog.

Tue Oct 31, 09:10:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My thoughts are with you and I've also sent you an email.

Wed Nov 01, 01:15:00 am  
Blogger Anne S said...

Clare, how appalling that your agent thinks your book would not sell enough copies to justify publication, when any amount of crap gets published these days. Alas for the well written book - as an addicted reader it is horrid to contemplate.

Here's hoping that your book will find some enlightened publisher in the near future.

Also condolences on the impending anniversary of your brother's death.

I too lost a brother some 16 years ago. He was only 44 years old.

Wed Nov 01, 01:43:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Present employment: Clare Dudman, Author.

As for the book, it has become perfectly clear to a good many writers (and editors) that achievement and what the marketing department thinks will 'sell' are often as far apart as the poles. This book--Huw's book--will find a home, sooner or later.

Wed Nov 01, 03:51:00 am  
Blogger Jonathan Wonham said...

Sorry to hear this Clare. Keep trying and looking for other possibilites.

Wed Nov 01, 08:04:00 am  
Blogger Lee said...

I think you owe it to your brother not to give up on the book, maudlin as this may sound. Has your agent tried Serpents Tail? They have a reputation for taking chances on literary fiction. Or what about Canongate? And there must be others.

Or am I just be naive again?

Wed Nov 01, 08:20:00 am  
Blogger Jan said...

Marly says it all when she says: "Clare Dudman, Author".
And also,may I add, there's :"Clare Dudman,Scientist"...
You have two very distinct labels, which can work very well alone or can be combined to great effect.

Wed Nov 01, 08:33:00 am  
Blogger Sarah Salway said...

I'm sorry to hear this, Clare. Is your agent submitting it to another publisher? You will always be Clare - writer to me, you have such a unique way of seeing the world and telling other people about it - but I think I can understand something of what you're going through. Love to youx

Wed Nov 01, 06:02:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Maxine summed it up:

"it seems to me that if you can eat while writing your blog and other writing, then you are in a plesant and fertile situation."

and to top it all - You are a brilliant writer

Wed Nov 01, 07:21:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, all of you. I am deeply grateful for this little community on-line. It is a great support.

Thu Nov 02, 09:39:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clare, my sympathies over your brother. Obviously there is nothing I can write in a comment about it, but just know that I, like your other friends here, are thinking of you and sympathising.

On some level, what we do with our lives is about our own internal sense of self-worth, which is independent of external values. But on another, that "external validation", whether paid employment, having a book pubished or whatever, is important to us.

I can't think of anything profound to say as my brain is pretty mushy -- but I do know that whatever situation one may be in, there is plenty of opportunity to agonise about it. External trappings of "success" don't automatically bring happiness or internal peace/validation. I have spent many years thinking about all this and being helped (or not helped) by many people, drugs, books, institutions, etc. I suppose all I can really conclude is that we have travel the path we find ourselves on, and try to experience the positives in that (even if the postitives may seem small, they can be appreciated).

Sorry if this is drivel. It is well-meaning drivel at least!

Oh yes, and please note that email I sent you from someone I encountered via the internet who loves your books and has reviewed one professionally. There are people you are reaching and changing -- but you may never know about them. The internet brings them closer, but there are probably lots of people out there whose lives you, Clare, have affected in some way by your writing. Isn't that worth a lot?

PS Yes, I hope your agent is hawking your book around....

Thu Nov 02, 10:36:00 am  
Blogger Debi said...

Thinking of you, Clare.

Hope one day you'll be able to look back at this time and say, 'Oh - so that's what that was all about ...'

Mon Nov 06, 12:14:00 pm  

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