Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Cry-Baby on the Radio

I was on Woman’s Hour.
BBC Radio 4.
Stardom, it wasn’t.
The show was with Joe Brand and it was about crying.
I’d responded to the Woman’s Hour tweet: Does everything have you in floods of tears or do you find it hard to cry?
I replied honestly that most things moved me to tears, including episodes of MasterChef.
They asked me to call them directly and feeling there was nothing to lose, I did.
Two days later I was waiting on the phone and listening to the show in the background.
I was a caller without a surname.
I was a nobody who was inexplicably nervous.
“Mention your book,” said the Fiancé. “Say you cry when other people do well but you didn’t cry at your book launch of Shop Girl Diaries.”
“I can’t do that.”
“Yes you can.”
This was a potentially miraculous moment to commit some widespread publicity.
“Good morning Emily,” the presenter said, and I tripped up on my tongue.
It took me five seconds to confess I was a cry-baby and then I was tossed off the phone line.
Goodbye BBC.
The Fiancé sniggered on the sofa where he’d been listening with huge headphones on.
He’d recorded the moment because he’s high tech.
This meant I was able to listen to myself mumbling that though I didn’t follow Reality TV shows I only needed to be watching them for 30 seconds before my tears were flowing.
If I hadn’t been an amateur with 5 seconds to ruin, I would have explained myself a lot better.
I would’ve articulately described how I identify with all the contestants.
Whether they are cooking a bowl of lentil soup or dancing a tango, I get caught up in their story.
In an instant I think of all the hard work they must’ve done to get where they are.
I feel their passion and their hunger to be able to do what they love for a living and their drive that has pushed them to work at it while juggling a full-time job or school or while looking after five children and a severely disabled mother.
I feel their bitter struggle as if it were my own struggle to succeed as a writer.
When they succeed, I can’t control the tears welling up.
If they can do it then so can I!
Yet today I received a rejection e-mail from the literary agent I’d written to.
It was a standard letter of rejection which surprised me because we had met in person and I’d expected a more personalised rejection.
I’d been on a roll with my novel but after that e-mail I felt out of sorts.
For a couple of hours I fiddled about on the internet because I couldn’t face a new chapter. When I got round to it, it was at a sluggish pace.
Got to Dance was on the telly and I watched the semi-final as I worked through a sorry bowl of pasta.
It didn’t take long before I was moved.
Their passion was so inspiring, their excitement so genuine and their performances were brilliant.
One dancer who impressed the judges hadn’t even had the full support of her mother while she was training. At least my parents encouraged me to keep going.
They LOVED it and that’s what it’s all about.
Loving it and living it.
No I won’t stop trying.
One day I’ll be on BBC Woman’s Hour talking about a novel I’ve written.
I’ll have a surname and at least 30 seconds.
And I won’t cry.


Mo said...

They will give you 3 minutes at least. I'm sure of that!

Mo x

Lindsay said...

Must have just missed your phone-in, I was listening to the programme in the car, but had to switch off when I reached my destination. Hope you get a chance to plug next time!

Shop Girl said...

Haha you didn't miss much Lindsay! Let's hope I've got something new to plug soon.

Thanks Mo, 3 mins has a much better ring to it.