Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I've had a week of some disappointment, tempered with some kind words, some harsh words, some honest words, and lots of great advice; for everything but the disappointment I have a writer named Andrea to thank. She has a terrific blog:


which is shrine to all things style, and literary, and obviously some of the style rubbed off on the literary because she is about to have a book published!

And I have had a week in which to think, what if?

What if I couldn't be a writer? What would I do? What could I do?

I'll start with the last question.

I could be a painter: I paint, I'm not too awful, I could do that...maybe...if I had to...but I like to keep that as my hobby, my pass time: it helps me unwind, helps me to think, helps me see the words to paint my stories - writing and painting are both art. I write in pictures anyway, writing is much more than words to me.

I would probably continue to look after my kids, be a stay at home mum until my youngest starts school and then go into teaching - the thing I was meant to do some years ago - the thing I took my highschool maths five times for (I have dyscalculia...numbers and I have a strange relationship: I'm like an accidental, A sexual patron in a strip club - numbers are the strippers who dance around me, I'm not allowed to touch and I don't get them). I would teach...if I had to...I would enthuse a generation with the love of words, I would infuse their senses with the love of language...I would amuse them with my love of books; 'this one smells like a good 'un' I'd say.
It would come back to writing somehow.

If I couldn't be a writer, I couldn't be a painter, a teacher, a mother; simply, I couldn't be me.

I will write because I have to. It's what I have done since I was as old as my daughter is now, and I took my story to show my teacher and she said, 'but they're not your words' - but they were. To get one of my stories published would be a huge buzz, an achievement, and a way - besides my children - to achieve immortality. I would jump up and down until I felt sick and dizzy, and shout 'weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!' I would run with barefooted jubilance down the street, and exclaim, 'they are my words!' And then I would go back to being me; and write - quietly, because my books would be shouting.

If I never get a book published I will write.


Andrea Eames said...

You have a daughter? I didn't know! How lovely. What's her name? How old is she?

I'm glad that some of the things I've said have been helpful - I think you're too generous with your praise of me, though! Which is sweet of you, but makes me feel a bit humbled because I know I don't deserve it all.

I'm sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you about the query and synopsis, but I'll definitely respond on the weekend. Hope you're having a good and productive week!

A xx

P.S. I doubt you'll have to worry about 'what ifs' - I'm sure you'll get there.

Rachel Fenton said...

I have two children, Isobel (8), and Reuben (10mths). Don't apologise! Just grateful you're having a look at all! Thanks.

Do you have a praiseometer? Accept the praise, it's yours, and it is, as far as I'm concerned, deserved!

Wrote a short story I'm really pleased with - will tweak it later - and made a start on researching my next project. So yeah, pretty productive - until today: Reuben's got a cold!

I'll certainly keep trying regardless!

Thanks again :)

Group 8 said...

Hi Rachel
Would you consider publishing a story on the net? I know a place that gives almost instant replies. (well, v quick, at least.) Stories and poems up to 750 words.
Nuala x

Rachel Fenton said...

Hi Nuala
Yeah I would, only reason I haven't pursued internet/magazine publication is because I'm incredibly bad at remembering/organisation...I would forget! Just keeping track of the agents I've submitted to has me like a squirrel that was relocated in its sleep! I could do it...

Rachel Fenton said...

...will set aside another notebook! Which place do you have in mind?

Damon Young said...

G'day again Rachel. I don't know if this'll help, but...

On the writer's life: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/reality-she-wrote-austens-top-tips-20090706-daen.html?page=-1

On writing with kids: http://www.theage.com.au/news/books/driven-by-distraction/2008/07/03/1214950947979.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

Rachel Fenton said...

Thanks Damon, any feminist literary ramblings in this little lot?! :)

I'll give it a squidge!

For the second one...I imagine it would be easier writing with a pen/pc?

Damon Young said...

Hmm. On 'feminist literary ramblings', the Age piece is prefaced on me staying at home to be a dad. I suppose this is feminist.

And, yes, I use a pen and laptop. (See the running fountain pen discussion on my blog.)

Rachel Fenton said...

All good reading Damon, and it's a ripe topic right now (as it always): I'd just read (and commented on) this:


...though I'm not sure that using Woolfe and Austen really sheds any light on what it is to work from home NOW. Perhaps I misinterpreted; I have a ten month old on my knee who seems convinced that each key on my pc is a button to unlock some secret and enchanting mystery (which of course it is, but it doesn't help me to type or concentrate). That said, it is an article of merit. I thank you for drawing my attention to it.

Damon Young said...

My six-month old is the same. She likes to whack the space bar.

My son just grabs my arm and pulls it off the keyboard.

Still, I'm a better writer with them than without. This was the point of the Age article: kids can inspire and discipline as much as they distract.

Rachel Fenton said...

I agree...I responded much in kind to Nuala.

I now have a second pc: one for whacking, and one for writing and whacking!

Happy typing!

Group 8 said...

'Damon - just read your article about parents who write. I loved it - the positivity and truth of it. Thanks for your comment over at Petina's on my guest post.

Rachel Fenton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.