Wow, I felt a lot of love for RS Thomas after my last blog post.
I wonder if we need more spirituality today, generally I mean. I speak as a moderate atheist. I think I used to call myself an ‘agnostic’ – wanting to leave the door open I suppose – but we all grow older, and so our thoughts and beliefs mature one way or another. I now love a lot of things about the church of my upbringing (although I hated it as a child!), but it stops well short of faith. The only church service I enjoy is Evensong, but I love the architecture of churches and can’t resist going inside any I come across. I’ve often sung the services in cathedrals with my choir the Lewes Singers: I will sing anything, but I never say the creed. It’s always a moving experience, but perhaps that’s the feeling of being in the presence of faith: people who truly believe. I don’t just mean those participating in the service, but also the thousands of souls who have worshipped there for centuries, right back to the stonemasons and labourers who built the massive edifices. I respect all that, and feel privileged to be a part of it.
But spirituality feels much wider, more inclusive than religion as such. My impression is that RS continually questioned his faith. Isn’t that what many of us do, even the atheists? What do we believe in? Surely it can’t just be Gaia, politics, football or reality TV?
On the writing front
Poetry latest: I’ve sent the full collection to a publisher for consideration. They’ve already seen about a third of the poems and asked for more. Yes, I had an offer of publication a couple of years ago from another publisher but for various reasons that never happened. So here’s hoping.
This has freed me up to finish the rewrites on my novel. Having had an excellent critique by Beth Miller of my query letter, synopsis and first page of manuscript, I knew I had to make some fairly significant changes. I started on it, but then got sidetracked by a holiday, putting together and submitting a poetry collection, plus a number of other time-critical projects. BUT I am back on it!
In parallel to the rewrites, I’m gearing up for submission by reviewing my list of literary agents. I started with a list based on the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, but as it always is with print publications not all the entries were up to date. So I augmented it by searching, visiting websites, identifying potential individual agents who seem interested in my genre, noting their requirements, Twitter names, email etc. Yes! A spreadsheet!
I’ve also created a Twitter List of Literary Agents. I love Lists on Twitter, and I think it has always been a much-unused facility. Once you have a list, you can browse tweets just from that list. Which means (in my case) you find out very quickly when an agent puts out a call for submissions, or who they have signed, or what they’re looking for, or when they’re closed and for how long, and so forth. Lists, people! They are useful!