It was Christopher Hitchens (1949 – 2011) who coined the phrase: ‘Everyone has a book in them and that, in most cases, is where it should stay.’
He’s not even read my book.
I say that tongue in cheek because Hitchens wrote or edited over 30 books and clearly knew what he was talking about.
In truth, my secondary education was limited. Later in life, I gained an Hons degree reading Psychology as a mature student with The Open University.
I’ve never been a gifted writer.
I had an opportunity to publish a gambling book: In A Class of their Own but it didn’t get out of the starting blocks. To be honest, I feel a little embarrassed by the whole episode as I was lacking and naive. It wasn’t a lack of knowledge on the subject matter but it was the art of writing.
We live and learn.
The possibility of a book came about through groundbreaking research into Pattern race entered two-year-olds racing in the UK. This was undertaken by my brother, Tony, who detailed the worth of this information back in 1986 (when he was just 16-years-old). The data was published in The Weekender, Nick Mordin’s Systems, a very popular read. I can’t remember the date of publication but will find it and put a link to the post at the bottom of the page. Mordin was complimentary about the research and two articles were published, the first titled: In A Class of Their Own.
The manuscript took a couple of months to write. I forwarded it to Aesculus Press Limited. I can’t remember the name of the gentleman who replied. However, I almost feared his perfect written English. It wasn’t good news although considerate in his use of words.
He didn’t want to crush my spirit but needed to get the message across plain and clear.
I’m sure a ten-year-old child could have made a better effort.
He didn’t say that but may have thought it.
I think the whole manuscript was written in capital letters, racecourse maps I’d stolen from another publication. Not a good starting point. I would hate to imagine what he thought, other than passing it around the office as if he’d found a script from Tommy Cooper’s archive.
Tommy Cooper says: ‘Police arrested two kids yesterday, one was drinking battery acid, the other was eating fireworks. They charged one and let the other one off.’
If the news got back to Nick Mordin he was probably questioning the authenticity of my brother’s research. Perhaps we’d sent both for a laugh. Sadly not. What can you say? Do the crime, pay the time. I feel quite embarrassed thinking about the poor quality of that manuscript. The good side, the information and insight into this unique research still holds strong to this day.
I often say: ‘You don’t wake up one day and find you’re a professional gambler and it’s the same for writing a book.’
Pretty sure if I’d asked Christopher Hitchens he’d have said: ‘You’ve done a lot of damage in those 280 characters.’
‘Please don’t send the manuscript.’
‘Everyone has a book in them and that, in most cases, is where it should stay.’
It plays on a loop in my brain.
What can I say?
I was foolish to think writing a book to a professional standard was something I could achieve. Not to say it wouldn’t be a possibility but I was working on being a professional gambler not an author.
Nick Mordin, Dave Nevison and Harry Findlay (the latter two didn’t need any writing skills but still found great success) sold lots of books. Perhaps their stories were just a bit more interesting.
Fame and fortune didn’t beckon for me. Not in the writing stakes.
As long as I have some success in the horse racing stakes I’ll be happy winning on that score.
You need ability to meet the level of requirement.
Good luck to all.
Photo: Pixabay (free)
Resource: In A Class of Their Own