2011 began with a pop - literally. My thoughtful daughter-in-law found a bottle (or three) of Whispers champagne and we toasted to the success of Rupert, Neti and Athena. In such times, when you ride on the well wishes of those you love, and who love you, anything seems possible and I thank them for providing such sweet moments. Fireworks at midnight signalled a beginning filled with promise. When I won $1300 the next day (New Year's Day) in Tattslotto, I felt that exquisite pleasure of universal forces aligning in my favour. In moments such as these, I believe it's important to ride the crests, even if it is with smug satisfaction. There will be troughs, I know that only too well, but I've learned to grab great moments while I can. They feed our psyche like a shot of calcium in the bones, propping it up with a subtle framework of hope and wonder. I like to reinforce that framework whenever I can.
I had to wait until April for the outcome of that competition. In the bigger scheme of things you might wonder why it was such a 'big deal'. After all, it was a small publishing house running the competition, and I wasn't Peter Carey. Did I think that if I won I would be able to retire on the profits? Not at all. Let me tell you too, that I had no illusions about the literary merit of Whispers. It is my first novel and, as such, it suffers for the self-consciousness of my early writing. Whenever I received a rejection I would always consider reworking the whole thing, but hesitated, not for laziness, but because I feared I would corrupt Rupert's innocence and gentility with a slicker writing process. Of course if I was skilled in my craft that wouldn't happen; but I know my limitations. Winning the competition would give me a much needed shot of confidence, a sign from the 'gods' that just maybe I had some talent to build on. The wait until April was excruciating.