There’s nothing like achieving something I really, really want to chop the celebrations off at the knees before they’ve begun. In the time it takes for someone to say, ‘Whe-hey you did it,’ my mind has already shifted from the ‘Crikey, I did actually do it,’ to the ‘Now they’re all going to find me out.’ There’s barely time to unknot the wire round the champagne cork before I’m fretting about getting rumbled. Take this week. I’ve probably been talking about writing a novel for half of my life, writing one on and off for quarter of it, and really cranking up the brain and motivation for a tenth of it.
So The Class Ceiling is finally out on Amazon Kindle. Fourteen versions, proofread cover-to-cover, tried out on all the various Kindle and iPad incarnations, staring at a screen until my eyeballs were bleeding. I know more about hyphens and compound adjectives in the English language than any human being needs to survive. With a big ta-da, I pushed the button and there appeared The Class Ceiling in all its pink-covered glory. The family heaved a sigh of relief, muttered ‘Well done’ and hoped that now I’d stop shouting at everyone. I could have allowed myself, let’s say, thirty seconds, to enjoy the moment. But no. I just felt as though I’d rolled out a big ugly baby in a pram that everyone would to peer into and not know what to say.
The husband is singing from the rooftops, blaring about the wife’s brilliance. The teenage son has stopped telling his teachers that his mother is ‘an unsuccessful author’ and grunted that I’ve ‘done OK’. The daughter keeps showing all her friends the book on Amazon and saying, ‘My Mum wrote that.’ But the wife herself wants to creep into the dog cage and stay there until any danger of someone reading the damn book (and having an opinion on it) has passed.
Is it a gender thing? Maybe I’m being unfair but I feel like I’ve spent quite a lot of time with blokes lolling back in their chairs, one foot over a knee, steepling their fingers and sharing their fabulousness on subjects I swear I know more about. I mean, I’m not a genius but my brain doesn’t make clanking sounds if we’re talking about language, writing or how to make good banana bread. I’ll grant that there are a few more creaks and grating noises if we’ve drifted onto quantitative easing and those Libor rate thingies. But the point is, why do some people (sorry, guys, but it is usually men) feel absolutely fine about holding forth on subjects when their knowledge would fit comfortably into an eggcup, while I think twice about speaking up even if I’ve got a degree in the subject?
Time to man up – or rather woman up. My New Year’s Resolution? Carpe Diem. Dance in the dew. Parp own trumpet, quietly and in tune, on occasion. Small sedate clap for self without immediately being bulldozed by doubt. Accept that sometimes I can do well without needing a caveat emptor as big as a house.
But if you do read The Class Ceiling, please don’t let me know if you find any typos, the dog’s getting a bit fed up with me crowding into her cage…
The Class Ceiling is available on Amazon Kindle.