Application, Talent or Luck?



Friday 31 August: The Right Place
Back at her Dad’s in the south east the heat’s been on for Rose to find a job ASAP. After an interview and near miss at Penguin, Rose needed something in the pipeline fast. She tried three local employment agencies hoping to do some temping. The first agency entered her for a bulk recruitment day for short term work at an insurance company, the second agency refused to register her (‘Just’ a graduate) and the third, ‘Reed’ asked her what she was hoping to do in the long run.
‘Well, I’d like to go into publishing,’ said Rose, ‘but I know that’s a tall order round here.’
As it happened that particular branch of Reed recruit for an international company which has a publishing arm. Looking at Rose’s details, the recruitment agent thought she be just the kind of person the organisation liked. He emailed Rose’s CV straight to the company; she had a phone interview the same day and was invited for a second interview yesterday. This morning she rang to say she’d been offered a job as a production assistant.

Naturally I’m absolutely delighted and I suppose you could say that Rose happened to be in the right place at the right time but I know how hard she’s worked to be that lucky. Not just academically but in her extra curricular activities, for example taking herself off to Tanzania last summer to carry out conservation work. Sure, you can work hard, be very talented but still need luck – it doesn’t always work out, but it’s nice when it does.

Saturday 1 September: The Right Time
Tom starts to take paintings to St Dogmaels for his forthcoming exhibition and returns with exciting news. Three of his small paintings have sold. Hurray! Some of the proceeds will come in handy for buying wine and nibbles for the opening night on Saturday, a third goes to the gallery and the rest will get ploughed back into art materials.

Sunday 2 September: Not Winning Them All
Tom rings me to tell me to come over to the gallery to the paintings in situ. I’m really excited about this exhibition as think this is Tom’s strongest collection yet and I would love to see his work reach a wider audience. I arrive to see two teenage girls walking away from the side window where three smaller paintings are on display.
‘Ninety-five pounds!’ says one in disgust, ‘I might pay a fiver!’
It doesn’t bother Tom who paints because he loves painting but this current show is really stunning. It’s not about the kind of safe watercolours folks might like take to home as a reminder of their holidays but he’s certainly talented… now all he needs is some luck.

Tuesday 4 September: Application, a Personal Mantra
Over at ‘The Novel Racers’ (see link) we were invited to share our writing mantras. Mine is ‘apply bum to seat’ because it’s the best way I know to keep writing. I’ve never needed it more than with this re-write! I know I keep bleating on about it but there’s a sense of new love about a first draft which keeps me engaged whereas a second draft is about hard work and application. This week I’ve been writing a lot of back story, most of which I won’t even use in the work in progress but I have to know what’s there. The bottom line is if I don’t believe it, the reader certainly won’t.

Why bother? I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week. After all, it’s not just hard work that will decide the final outcome for this book: timing and luck play a part too but I’m a very driven person and I expect a lot of myself. (I blame Mum, of course, (remember that Philip Larkin poem?). My sister and I could get 99% in an exam and she still would tell us to do better next time!) So, I think I’ve got the talent, I might need some luck but it’s application I need to finish the re-write and find out whether or not I’ve made a better job of it.

Hwyl fawr!

Painting is 'Aberystwyth Beach' by Tom Tomos



Comments

Posie Rosie said…
What a fabulous painting it is too...really good to hear alll of your news and well done to Rose, she deserves it and what a relief that she has managed to find work so quickly, I really wish her well and hope she finds her job engaging, challenging and rewarding. Good luck with your projects too,k and fingers crossed for the exhibition, 'onwards and upwards'!
Suffolkmum said…
So glad about Rose, sounds like a really good break. I loved the picture too, and £95 isn't too bad at al these days! Not that I have £95, but if I did, I'd buy it! So know what you mean about application. Mine is fear of starting - once I'm off I'm OK, but I've always been one to skive when I see the starting line.
CAMILLA said…
Hello Chris,

Oh I just love paintings, that fine one would go well in my Study.
It is such good news about Rose finding work, I wish her all the luck, is she with Penquin at The Strand in London?
I remember that poem written by Philip Larkin, when I was working as a nurse in a Hospital years ago, an ex-patient said she used to go out with him, I believe he worked for a short time as a Librarian in the county she resided in.

Application - I struggle for perfection, and beat myself up a tad about failure. A desirable wanting for more time in a day to put my creativity to use.

All the very best for your future projects Chris.

Camilla.x
Flowerpot said…
I quite agree with the bum on seat mantra, and attitude towards first and later drafts. First drafts are such fun - the rest is sheer slog to me!
Leatherdykeuk said…
I love Aberystwyth. I've painted it myself before now. Good luck with the exhibition and the novelising.
Crystal Jigsaw said…
It's fantastic news about Rose, you have every reason to be the proudest mum!

Just popping over to have a look at Novel Racers.

Crystal xx
Hannah Velten said…
Love Tom's painting - watercolour you say; very different. Hope he sells well.
I think I used to work in the same company that Rose is going to be working for - I think there is so much luck involved, but she had to have done all the hard work to be noticed in the first place.
Keep up with the re-write - I hate doing it too, but all part of the process...is it going to be published? Sorry, new to your site...
Mootia x
CTaylor said…
Well done to your daughter. Publishing is notoriously tough to break into.

Love the painting in today's blog. I'd pay £95 for it (if I, er, wasn't so skint!)

And I know what you mean about the re-write. My heart really isn't in mine which is probably why I keep putting off doing it!
Oh well done to Rosie - yes right place right time - but it still wouldn't have happened if she hadn't put in the work first and done everything she could to make her CV read so well.

Good luck to Tom for his exhibition and good luck to you with the continuation of your re-write - I do know what a slog it can be.

A friend once said to me that there is no such thing as good luck - you make your own luck and what people call luck is when opportunity meets good planning. I don't think anything is that pure and yes there is sometimes an element of luck or is it opportunity - but you still have to have put the work, I guess that is the good planning part.
hello Chris....lovely news about Rose..and 'luck' may feature slightly but its really hard work and effort that sets the base isn't it? Hope the exhibition goes with a bang as well ...loved todays picture. As for you and your re write...BUM ON SEAT right NOW please!!!
UN PEU LOUFOQUE said…
I am wiht you re rose we do make our own luck and it is very hard work but worth it. I also think that luck comess form beleiving in yourself and your family sound as if they will go far.

Re painting which is glorious it is a sad fact that those with superb taste have no money otherwise we would all be fighting for that beauty on our walls!
LittleBrownDog said…
Great news about Rose! She's done so well - it's only a matter of weeks since she graduated. You're so right about talent and luck and that whole thing about being in the right place at the right time, but I'm sure in the long run, talent, commitment and sheer hard work will prevail.
Best of luck to Tom and his exhibition - that's a wonderful painting, by the way.
And good luck with your re-write. Yours sounds like an excellent mantra. I just need to find my own.
Pondside said…
Lovely good-news blog! Of course Rose is lucky - and she's worked darn hard to get that lucky!! I wish her all good things out of this new job.
Tom's art and your writing - sort of like children in your nest - but what a lot of nurturing these two take! I imagine that there are waves of creative energy emanating from your house!
Tattie Weasle said…
You can have luck and talent and even application but without the wherewithall to notice it or the braverey to grab it when it comes along it could easily pass you by. Sounds like Rose isn't lacking in any of those departments! Well done and for that matter neither are the rest of you - keep on going - nearly there...
As an aside: couldn't understand why I was so attracted to the picture until all was revealed that it a was Aberystwyth - it's getting very posh now! Only there in July once for shopping and once for evening meal on our return home...
sally's chateau said…
Great news all round, I'm so pleased for you, things seem to be looking a lot brighter ! x
Lane said…
Those are seriously good paintings!

Great news for your daughter. It sounds like she deserves it.

All the best with the re-write.

(Lane from the Novel Racers x)
LittleBrownDog said…
Re your note on my blog: Cake with a file sounds as though it might be an excellent idea - just as a precaution, mind. May I suggest Coffee & Walnut, perhaps? Or perhaps a nice sticky gingerbread? Just don't resort to one of Nigella's recipes, otherwise I may have to shoot myself.
xx

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