Sherlock and me
One of the great challenges for a writer is the difficulty, nay, the impossibility, of knowing whether one is writing crap. That’s why we have friends. And enemies. And Creative Writing courses. And editors. And red wine.
Another great challenge is the impossibility of defining success. Finishing a book? Getting it published? Selling a few hundred copies? A few thousand? A million? Getting the most UK reviews of a non-fiction book in January 2008 (no matter that some of the reviews were vicious, some were patronising, some were both)?
I can’t say my personal experience of that last measurement led to any lasting contentment. In fact, until today, my feel-good moments have been provided by an annual Public Lending Right statement. This shows an author how many people have been borrowing your books from the library. It’s not about the money, although the £41.97 I received this year did bring me a lot of pleasure. It’s just the warm glow of knowing that one’s books live on.
But all now is changed. Who amongst you, my fellow writers, have been featured in an episode of Sherlock? Yes, Sherlock. My work (for the record, John Milton: Poet, Pamphleteer and Patriot, which you’ll recall was the most reviewed non-fiction publication of January 2008) can be seen on the bookshelf of a minor character in episode 2 of season 1. How do I know that I appear in ‘The Blind Banker’? Because of this:
Mid0nz, whoever you are – you have my eternal gratitude. I feel, well, special.