The Importance of Being English

I’m still English, still gloomily Brexited, and pondering how seeing our football team getting knocked out of the Euros didn’t feel half as disastrous as knocking ourselves out of Europe. But I’m still American too, so what do I know? I couldn’t even vote!

It got me thinking though, just how English am I now, almost 20 years into my second life? And how does being English affect my writing?

I have a wonderful group of friends/critiquers/coffee-drinkers/beta-readers who meet to read each other’s work every week and definitely aren’t English. They mark all my English-isms in my manuscripts, sometimes asking if a Sheila-ism is an English-ism too. Some of my isms are simply down to me – “sunlight slanting through windows,” “echoes reveling in the dance of rising eagles” for example. But others are pure Brit. Kids stamp their feet instead of stomping them. Purses go in handbags. Counterpanes cover the beds… and more. Oh, and colour really really wants that u.

So yes, being English does affect my writing, but my generous friends and editors help me hide it. The publisher (Indigo Sea) puts the words in print. Then comes the “selling” bit…

I showed my newly released novel to an English friend the other day. She compliment the cover, then told me, “Of course, you won’t want me to read it. It would be so embarrassing.” How could I say “Please”?

She was right though, I guess. At least, the dedication page to Infinite Sum might be embarrassing ’cause it’s about me. But the book’s about someone else. And I’m American. now; I don’t mind being embarrassed once in a while. So here it is – my dedication to my masterpiece. Enjoy. And I hope it tempts you to read more:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00017]

I’ve been telling stories since the day I learned to talk, and writing them down since the day I learned to write. I suspect I’ve been waiting to tell this story since the day a trusted adult first abused me. But Infinite Sum is not my story, and Sylvia is not me, for which reason I really should thank all the wonderful people who rejected my first attempts at this novel; Sylvia’s feelings are just as honest as if they were mine, but I think her tale is much better told because it’s hers. After all, I’ve been telling stories, fiction not fact, since the day I learned to talk. It’s what I do.

I’m also enormously grateful to my mum. She has told me repeatedly, since the day I left home, that I ought to make use of my writing skills. Without Mum’s constant prayers and encouragement, this story would never have been written. Next, I’d like to thank those generous friends who encouraged me with early reviews—in particular authors Catherine Cavendish and Paulette Maturin, and most especially mystery author Aaron Paul Lazar who applied his razor-sharp fine-tooth comb to the final edits of the text. Thank you so much!

I must, of course, thank Indigo Sea Press as well, for trusting me enough to accept a second novel after Divide by Zero. Thank you Pan Morelli for the lovely cover. And I am grateful—I will always be grateful—to God for teaching me forgiveness is not my job.

—Sheila Deeth

Find Infinite Sum on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Infinite-Sum-Mathemafiction-Novel-2/dp/1630663891

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3 thoughts on “The Importance of Being English”

  1. I don’t easily embarrass (used to – probably was the quarter English in me) and look forward to reading Infinite Sum. It sounds very intriguing! It strikes me as funny that you’re deleting your English-isms while I’m busily adding UK-isms.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We should get together some day – in the ruins of a fine old British castle, overlooking the waves, listening to the wind bringing echoes of conversations round an ancient hearth, and dreaming that timeless, breathlessness of human history and heart.

      Liked by 1 person

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