how the novel writing course went

at the risk of sounding overstated
my literary output’s constipated
why, I couldn’t tell you
I read a varied menu
of wordy stuff
plenty enough
written roughage
to unblock the blockage
and push out a novel of considerable merit
but all in all I just can’t get it

which is why I joined a novel writing group
in the naive hope
I might escape the rope
of my unending novel writing nope
and find more productive ways to cope
with themes and arcs of such breathtaking scope
I’d be signed on the spot
hotter than the hottest author they’ve got
the latest sensational over-nighter
to take ten years to make it as a writer

the final session was with an agent
kind and warm and patient
explaining all the ins and outs
the yellow book road to the publishing house
the mountain of scripts she has to read
skimming them at speed
two on the go
and one on audio
not to mention all the authors on her roster
everyone suicidal they haven’t won the Costa

and whilst she talked I got the impression
this novel writing thing was a doomed profession
like bailing out a boat with a sieve or something
words, words, words said Hamlet, which was grim
and look how it ended up for him

to make things worse
there was a guy on the course
who was a force
of malevolent nature
some kinda retired major
interpersonal skills of an alligator
who KEPT interrupting
totally disrupting
the literary agent’s flow
and honestly? I don’t know
how she kept her cool
and didn’t just knock him out with a bar stool
and it made me wish upon wish
I was a bigger and better literary fish
the kind she might be looking to hook
if I only I could write a bestselling book

‘And WHAT is this thing called?’
yelled the Major, with a particularly severe look
when she happened to mention The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook
and then he grandly pulled out a gold fountain pen
and asked her to repeat the name again
so he could scratch it down in slow and tiny writing
sighing in a way that was murderously inviting

but then – maybe I’m just like the major
a self-deluding literary failure
who joins yet another writing class
to try push a novel out of my arse

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