She marked down wannabe.
"Actually, I already published a book through eBook Publishers," I assured her.
"Yes, they just publish eBooks. But this time I want my new book to be published by a more traditional publisher, both in hardcover and eBook."
"Traditional publisher. You will need a literary agent for that," she said.
"Yes, I know."
She marked down delusional.
"New York, London?"
"What?" I asked.
"Your literary agent. Where you want to get published."
"Actually, I thought I'd start with Toronto."
"Toronto? Isn't the Canadian market quite small?" she asked.
"Yes, but I see it as going back to my roots. Coming home."
Sentimental loser, she wrote.
"And I also write a blog."
She looked up, not too pleased with this news. "I hope you are not putting me in your blog."
"No, of course not," I lied.
Actually, I hadn't planned to until I saw that sentimental loser remark. I have been called many things: cold, unemotional, detached, anti-social ... and oh, yes - loser, but never sentimental. That stung.
"What about friends?" she asked.
"What about them?"
"Are any of them writers?".
"I think so. But most won't admit it."
She nodded in empathy. Friendless, she added.
"Okay, that's good for a start," she said.
"When shall we continue?" I asked.
"I'll call you," she said, with a sweet smile.
A friend of mine, who is brave enough to call himself an aspiring writer, asked me over a pint of Guinness a short while ago. "Why do we do this to ourselves?"
"Torture ourselves as writers. The process of writing is painful enough, in itself, but why put ourselves also through the pain of seeking someone to publish our writing?"
"I'd put it down to the masochistic creative gene. Why does anyone want to create?" I asked. "Painters, musicians ... is it any easier for them?"
"Some of them do quite well," he said. "Big houses in Beverley Hills."
"Is that what you are in it for? The money?"
"Wouldn't hurt. What are you in it for?" he asked.
So, I have a new book coming out. Well ... I have a new book. The gods will tell whether it comes out or sinks into an abysmal bog. (I hope I didn't offend anyone with that gods remark. My shrink tells me I should stop doing that.) And talking about shrinks, here is another excerpt from my new book (in addition to my last blog posting). Some people may think the main character resembles me. I actually think that I resemble him. He came first.
“Would you consider yourself suicidal?”
The psychologist studied me from behind her thick framed eyeglasses.
“Suicidal? No,” I replied, shaking my head.
“You have never had suicidal thoughts?”
“No, not really. Except for wanting to jump off a cliff.”
“Jump off a cliff.”
“I heard you. In what way is that not suicidal?”
“I do not want to jump off a cliff,” I said slowly with emphasis. “That is why I am probably still alive. But whenever I approach the edge of a cliff with a sheer drop, I have a powerful urge to jump into the abyss.”
She sat there watching me, as if trying to decipher something in my manner.
“Are you depressed, when this happens?” she asked.
“Depressed about not jumping?”
“You know what I mean.”
“It doesn’t depend on the mood,” I answered. “Or the weather. When I come close to the edge, I want to jump off.”
“What happens then?”
“I move back.”
This was my first visit to the psychologist. Or was she a psychiatrist? I keep getting my terms mixed up. I know, I told you I would never go. So I lied. Or as a psychologist would say: I underestimated my sub-conscious. Actually, it was mostly because of Rachel’s endless nagging. In the end it was easier to go than not.
My psychologist was a woman. I had already viewed life from a male perspective, so I thought it was time to see things from a female point of view.
She was very officious looking, that first meeting. What I suppose you would expect of a psychologist. The room was full of books: books on every side. Somebody once told me that half of the books in a psychologist’s office were just empty boxes made to look like books. I hadn’t given much credit to such reports, although given the first opportunity, I would slip one out and take a good look.
“What do people think about your desire to jump off cliffs?” she asked, catching me drifting.
“Impulse to jump off cliffs. There is really no desire there.”
“Okay,” she said, writing something in her notepad. “What do people think about your impulse to jump off cliffs?”
“They don’t know about it.”
“They don’t know about it? Not even your family and closest friends? What do they say when you are not willing to stand with them by the edge of the cliff?”
“They think I have a fear of heights.”
“And that is all?”
“That is all.”
“Now I can see why it took you so long to come to a psychologist,” she muttered.
“No, scratch that. That was very unprofessional.”