Ducked around to my PO Box earlier today and discovered that my contributor copies of Gods, Memes, and Monsters had arrived. And lo, it is a handsome book, once you see it in the flesh:
That’s not the curious bit.
This is: I have a bit of a ritual with contributor copies these days, which has developed over the last few years. Basically, they come in, and I make myself a nice cup of tea to calm the nerves before cracking the book open and taking a close look at my story, figuring out how much of it I actually remember writing.
The answer, thanks to the exhaustion associated with undiagnosed apnea and the desperate attempts to hit deadlines, is invariably less than I’d like. For Gods, Memes, and Monsters, it was virtually nothing. I could basically remember the idea I pitched and the things that inspired me to tackle that particular topic, and that was about it. Reading the story was kinda like reading something else wrote, if it weren’t for the bits I could recognise as things I tend to do in fiction and the existence of first drafts on my hard drive (yes, I checked)
This is…not surprising. My submission got written and submitted right around the time I was purchasing a house and the falling asleep at the keyboard habit was becoming a regular thing. At the time, I was pretty sure I was coping with that okay, but the past few weeks at work have seen some issues crop up suggesting that I was basically sleepwalking through my life throughout 2014. There is lots of moments when people ask “did you do this thing?” or worse, “what were you thinking when you did this thing?”, and my answer is usually “what, what in hell are we talking about?”
But this is the first time it’s cropped up in relation to writing.
Which is a pity. ‘Cause I quite liked the story in this anthology. I imagine it would have been a lot of fun to write, and there are lines that I really wish I could have remembered coming up with, because the part of me that used to write poetry still gets very smug when I come up with a phrase or image that I’m very fond of.
It feels like some other Peter wrote it, which means I don’t get to be quite as smug as I’d like.
That said, that other Peter doesn’t get the contributors copy or the money, so I’m probably coming out ahead.