Well, it's here: the day of the Manchester launch for the reissue of The Birth Machine. And here I am, nothing much left to do towards the preparation, with time to contemplate how very, very lucky I am. People keep congratulating me on the reissue, as though it's something I've done myself: Well done, they say, to manage that, a reissue - at any time, they say, leave alone these difficult times!!! They think I must have worked hard, and be very clever, to achieve it. I have to tell them: no, I'm just unbelievable lucky. It's all down to my wonderful publisher, Jen at Salt, who brought the subject up, out of the blue, and offered to do it! Actually, she didn't even offer: there she was standing with her suitcase ready to leave after our Salt reading for Manchester Literature Festival last year, and she stopped and turned back and asked if I WOULD MIND her re-doing The Birth Machine!!
Being a writer can be a struggle for so much of the time - it's so hard to get published (and that doesn't necessarily stop being the case even when you've been published previously), and when you are published it's so hard to get your books noticed, and so hard to get the sales, and then the books go out of print (as indeed happened with the first edition of The Birth Machine), and in the face of all that it's quite hard sometimes to keep writing, to see the point, or to keep believing in yourself as a writer. But then sometimes this sort of thing happens: when suddenly someone in the publishing industry acts like a fairy godmother, and magic happens.
And I have to say some pretty frightening things happened to me over the first publication of The Birth Machine, as I described here, to the extent that I thought my potential career as a writer was ruined before it had hardly begun, and leading to a years-long struggle to overcome the setback, both practically and psychologically. So this really is a most wonderful occasion for me - the happy ending of a painful story. Do please come and help me celebrate if you're in Manchester tonight: Waterstone's Deansgate, 7pm, £3.00 redeemable against purchase of The Birth Machine.