You may have heard that I’ve written a novel called Patience, and that I started it over twelve and a half years ago – you may know this because, recently, I’ve been doing my social media dance to alert as many readers as possible to the fact it exists.
Today, it exists.
I realise that seeing other writers boosting themselves can be depressing. I won this prize. I’m on this shortlist. I got this book deal. And it’s tough when that little air-punch comes in on a day you get a rejection, or are just generally feeling crap.
I realise this because, most of the time, I’m on the other end. The not-boosting end.
Although I’ve covered some of this in Wrestliana, the memoir I published last year with the great Galley Beggar Press, I’d like to say a little about why Patience is so important to me.
Quite a few of my other books have gone out of print. Corpsing. deadkidsongs. Ghost Story. (Some secret plans to bring them back, however.)
Of the previous three novels I’ve completed, only one has found a publisher.
Lilian’s Spell Book was self-published.
My Mother’s Seven Spirits Demand Justice was rejected all over.
Notes for a Young Gentleman was published by Seagull Press. (Who are great.)
This is embarrassing to confess. I liked all these three books, as I was writing them. I believed in them. They overtook me, and then they left me. I think they’re good books.
But Patience feels different. Better.
I’ve written a lot about writing. What I think is bad writing, good writing and better than good writing. Some of this is in the collection Mutants. A lot of it is in the lectures I’ve given at Birkbeck. But not all of the writing I’ve done has seemed to fit with these public statements. I’ve said one thing but seemed to be doing another.
Patience is where the two come together.
For some reason, it feels as if this book should go out into the world and get far away from me and from anyone who knows anything about me. It feels like it should have a life of its own.
That’s mainly because the narrator, Elliott, is such a special character – and writing as him made me write better than I have before. With more attention; with more compassion.
The reaction from the first few readers has been all that I hoped. I’m not going to quote them. (Todd McEwen’s review is here.)
I rarely feel that I’ve done my best. With Patience, I’m still trying to think – months after I finished – how I can come close to matching it.
I’m happy that, today, it’s available to read. I hope you’ll give it a chance – and pass it on to someone else, if you enjoy it.
You can buy this limited edition of Patience direct from Galley Beggar Press here.
And please also use your local bookshop. Mine is Herne Hill Books.