This week I went to the London Book Fair in Earl's Court to see and learn what publishers care about. I think publishers might take my book more seriously if I know something about their world and how to operate in it. But at times the fair is crowded and stuffy. It makes me feel intimidated and slightly insane. Nearby is a beautiful cemetery in Old Brompton Road, with heart-swelling architecture, old trees and swathes of spring flowers. The cemetery is a respite from taking my writer-self too seriously. You can walk down the long, straight, boulevard-style paths or you can follow labyrinthine trails that wind around the gravestones and tombs.
I went to the cemetery with a conversation I'd had earlier at the book fair on my mind. My friend Jakki has a short story on the wall in her office by David Eagleman. She says it's about someone who meets all their better or more successful selves after they die. They are the selves who achieved all the things you might have hankered for but didn't get, for whatever reason. I can't really do the book justice because I haven't read it and I am making it sound cheesy, god forbid. It made me think of another book I noticed at the book fair, Fuck It Therapy, by John Parkin. Pretty self-explanatory. Being in the cemetery was a reminder that we only get one crack at this life. We might as well aim high. Instead of feeling daunted by all the publishing mania at the fair, I went back to it in a buoyant mood. Then I ordered David Eagleman's book: Sum.