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.
Painting is 'Aberystwyth Beach' by Tom Tomos