Shelf Life

moosegloveWhat has a moose oven glove to do with novel writing? Not a lot, but bear with me.

One gets to a certain point in one’s, ahem, career, when it becomes clear that The Big Breakthrough isn’t going to happen.  Fifty years ago it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. Plenty of fine authors bimbled along with a modest but appreciative following. Then they died and soon after the only place to find their books was a charity shop. These days who (apart from me) reads E.M.Delafield? Who reads Nevil Shute, or Bram Stoker  – except perhaps for THAT book. Actually I don’t think people do read it. Why would they when they can watch a movie? People don’t even read Robert Louis Stevenson and I count him a giant among storytellers.

So what hope for mid-list bimblers in the 21st century? None. We’ll be consigned to the pulping plant faster than you can say ‘Back List.’  Never mind immortality, novel writing isn’t even the way to modest financial solvency. I begin to think the way to go is merchandising.  Dodie Smith missed a trick there.

The Humble Companion tea towel. The Gone With the Windsors oven glove. The Grand Duchess of Nowhere in a snowstorm globe, the perfect gift for the Holiday Season.  What do you think? Or perhaps I need a collection. The Laurie Graham At Sea range of cruise wear?

By the way, it took three attempts for me to thwart Spell Check and get away with ‘bimbled’ and ‘bimblers’. Who is this language fascist lurking in my computer? This is my blog and I’ll take whatever damned liberties I choose.



  1. Lou on November 15, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I, for one, would be really sad if you stopped writing because you don’t appeal to the masses. Generally, only drivel has mass appeal, anything more intelligently written is savored by a smaller audience. Come on – do you really expect people who are talking about Kim Whateverhernameis and her butt would read anything except captions under photos? If you are not going to descend to zombies, vampires and child magicians then mid-list seems a pretty good achievement to me. Don’t give up, please. And if I have to buy a snowdome or two to keep you in business, I will.

  2. Elizabeth Dunn on November 18, 2014 at 8:12 am

    I simply won’t accept the fact there isn’t a Big Breathrough in you. With all your experience and talent, why shouldn’t there be? I have lots of ideas if you’re keen to listen 🙂 PS I’m reading the wonderful Dodie Smith at the moment.

  3. Chris Hutton on December 2, 2014 at 7:20 am

    I still read E M Delafield – The Diary of a Provincial Lady is fantastic, and I definitely put your books in the same bracket as hers.

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