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Lo, The Flat Hills of My Terrible Bestseller

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Tuesday, June 3rd

To Whom It May Concern, Methuen Publishing.

I have been made aware, via correspondence from an ex-girlfriend that I determined many years ago I wanted no further contact from, as well as my ex-wife, that a novel written in my early twenties Lo, The Flat Hills of My Homeland is to be published as of July 18th this year. This novel is attributed to the fictional ‘Aiden Vole’, a character in a libellous Barry Kent (and I loathe to give it this much credit) “novel”. As such, all proceeds will, naturally, be given to the aforementioned 'author'.

I would like to make it known that this novel was written by myself, Adrian Albert Mole, and has never so much as been seen by the plebeian brain of Barry Kent. Furthermore, I do not give my permission for said novel to be published by your company, nor for any royalties to be given to that gigantic a 'author', Mr Kent.

Please see enclosed affidavits from aforementioned ex-girlfriend and wife, both present during the time period of the novel's creation, as well as the rejection letters sent from various publishing companies (including your own!) from the time period in question.

I hereby insist that you cease publication of this novel immediately, and contact my solicitor for further instructions. (Contact details included on attached business card).

Adrian Mole

Wednesday, June 4th

I am grateful that Pandora is willing to let me use her solicitor for any further action. I am also confused as to how any publishing company acquired my manuscript. Have they kept it in some hidden vault, waiting for a time they believed I would not be paying attention, in order that they would not have to pay the advance I believe it was worth? Should I be worried that other submissions may come to light? Should I be paying more attention to recent releases?

In order to be brutally honest, I should point out that more than one of the rejection letters I received was vaguely accurate. While not "complete trash" as it was often called, it was an amateur attempt by a young writer that doesn't bear further scrutiny today.

Being more honest, I would be humiliated beyond words should said manuscript be published. I have not re-read it in years, but I recall it being quite awful. I am grateful I have improved since.

Thursday, June 5th

Pandora has invited me to stay with her for the night. Glenn has kindly agreed to take care of all helpless family members, as Finley-Rose is pregnant again, and not much in the mood for leaving the house.

Baby Madisyn adorable as always. Am trying to convince them to pick a better name for the next one.

I'm feeling a strange wave of nostalgia for my youth, when visiting Pandora, alone, in her home was not an unusual occurrence.

Wednesday, June 6th

The feeling is apparently not nostalgia. If all visits as a rambunctious teenager had ended such, I suspect I might have found myself abusing my thing much less vigorously.

Pandora is

Thursday, June 7th

Dear God, I am exhausted.

Pandora has been

Friday, June 8th

Am home, finally. Pandora has left to go back to London, with a promise to visit next week. I am not sure that I will survive it, but it will be a glorious way to go.

I have finally had a chance to check my voicemail and the post. Pandora's solicitor has sent me a letter from the publishing company. Upon reviewing their records, they have indeed found record that said manuscript was originally submitted (and thus likely written) by myself. They have not been forthcoming as to where they obtained it, but have assured me that Barry Kent will not receive any of the proceeds.

I instructed the solicitor to remind them that I do not give permission for my novel to be published, and that I insist it is withdrawn from consideration.

Monday, June 9th.

The solicitor has emailed me a copy of the advance amount they are offering. It was, apparently, originally meant for a "best-selling author" (that plagiarising thief Barry Kent I am forced to conclude), and thus is much larger than would be otherwise have been offered to a writer that has only an offal cookbook to their name.

In order to preclude the chance of further legal action, they are offering the cheque to me.

In order to continue to pay my bills, I am accepting it.

I am to be a published author! With a novel written, in its entirety, by myself! I find myself excited, though am cautioned by the publishers that, without a famous name to it, it is unlikely to receive much attention. I should not expect many royalties, as they doubt that it will have many readers.

I don't mind. I will buy a copy, as will, I hope, those that love me. I almost think that shall be enough for me.

Friday, July 18th

Lo, The Flat Hills of My Homeland has been published today. Mr Carlton-Hayes has kindly bought an entire display's worth, and my family came out in full force to buy a copy each. I was touched by their consideration, and found myself nearly in tears when Rosie embraced me, and informed me that she was proud to be my sister.

The display still looks rather full, and I suspect that the majority of the copies that will be sold have been as of this morning, but seeing my own novel, even an old and quite terrible one, professionally bound and for sale is the culmination of a lifetime dream.

As I held my daughter, surrounded by my son and granddaughter, my mother and father, and constant emails from Wole, who now wishes to become William again, I believe that I might be content.

Saturday, July 19th

My scheduled visit from Pandora has been cancelled. She has, apparently, been given a last minute place on a talk show. She is not one to miss a chance to voice her opinions, something I have always loved her for.

Love.

It is strange saying that again, in regards to Pandora, and I have yet to voice it to her. She has always been less affectionate than I, and I do not wish to lose this new and fragile thing that is building between us. Should we never define it more than we do now, I think, after so many failed marriages and relationships, I might still be happy with it.

Happiness. Being content. These are new things to me, but I am enjoying them.

On a lark, I used Amazon's self-publish facility to publish another manuscript I have been working on. It is a combination of prose and poetry, called Oh, How My Heart Has Shattered. I am not afraid to say that I have borrowed heavily from my own experiences, though have, of course, changed the names accordingly.

I have also, unlike Barry Kent, changed more this about each of my characters. I am, perhaps, flattering myself, but I think that any of those who inspired my characters would be hard-pressed to see enough similarities to recognise themselves.

That, BARRY, is how one writes properly.

Tuesday, July 22nd

Took a trip to the bookshop today. The display looks noticeably lighter. I did not have a chance to talk to Mr Carlton-Hayes, surrounded as he was by a surprising amount of customers for an antique bookstore. Perhaps there has been some scandal involving a historical figure. That tends to be the only way that business comes so heavily into the store.

Really, it was a kindness of Mr Carlton-Hayes to carry my book at all, being that it is new, and to take enough off the display that it looks as though some have been purchased. He is too good to me, I think.

Wednesday, July 23rd

Went back to the store. The display is empty. Mr Carlton-Hayes claimed, excitedly, that all copies have been sold. I called Pandora to laugh with her about it. It turns out that she mentioned it on her talk-show last weekend!

A hundred copies sold is a minor miracle, but for this work?

I am not sure I want to be known for a novel I wrote in my youth. I am almost afraid to re-read it. I've been told of writers who went back to old, abandoned works and found their writing quite pleasant. Perhaps I will find come to the same conclusion.

Thursday, July 24th

Finally found a store that had not sold out. Not surprising; most stores only carried one or two copies, if that. Still, I will endeavour to re-read my work and see how I find it. I am hoping to rediscover a hidden gem.

I did not rediscover a hidden gem. It's awful. I can never show my face in public again.

Friday, July 25th

I have been sent interview requests from no less than five separate shows.

I feel I shall have to move to Belize. I feel it is my only option.

Monday, July 28th

My book has reached Belize. My Amazon account has blown up with sales of my second novel.

Tuesday, July 29th

All reviews are calling my works stunning parodies of various different things. They were never intended as such, but perhaps I should allow them to call it that. It might be less humiliating than the truth.

I am reconsidering my decision to be a novelist. After much deliberation, and re-reading of my work, I am not sure that is what I was meant to be. Perhaps I should go back to poetry. Or, leaving literature behind, perhaps I could simply take up Mr Carlton-Hayes on his increasing offers to buy the bookstore. I certainly have enough for a down payment, now that the advance cheque is safely in my bank account.

It would be nice, to be around books all day and not have the stress of a terrible photo of myself, provided of course by my mother, being plastered all over the television.

Friday, August 29th

I will not give up on being a novelist.

My publishers have given me an indication of the amount I can expect in my first royalty cheque, as has Amazon. Pandora has given me an office of my own in her childhood home. Gracie and I near live there now, and it comes with all the benefits of wealth that is to be expected.

And, of course, the presence of Pandora. One cannot forget that. She certainly does not allow me to.

Asshole!

Pandora! I see I shall have to hide these diaries much more carefully.

Thursday, October 9th

I am on the New York times bestseller list.

Me. Adrian Mole. I hardly know what to do with this information. I am yet to grant an interview. Apparently this instance of social awkwardness is being touted as 'mystique'. The press will never cease to baffle me.

I have noted, and corrected, more than a dozen inaccuracies in various biographies of me. I also, apparently, have a wonderful publicist.

Ah, how strange it is to get credit for the things I had not intended, and none for the things I had.

I am considering writing a new book, a parody. Pandora informs me the only way I will be able to do so is to tell myself I am being entirely serious, and it will come out hysterically funny. She is, as ever, a cruel mistress.

Crueller still now she has taken to requesting role-playing in the bedroom. She was not amused when I suggested that I play the aroused intellectual teenager to her frigid activist.

I consider us even.

Monday, December 8th

I have earned my first million. Even I, a successful novelist, do not have the words for it.

I have purchased my parents a house, one with is equipped the facilities for my father's wheelchair and carers. My sister, likewise, has been gifted a flat of her own, and I have bought what could almost amount to an estate for Glenn, Finley-Rose, Madisyn and McKenna. They have insisted that Gracie and I am welcome to stay whenever I like, and I am proud to say that I will take them up on it often.

In this way, it can be said that I have also lost my first million.

When she heard the news, Pandora sidled up to me and placed her head on my shoulder. She asked me to marry her. I looked down at her tense body, and considered the last year. I owe her everything, and yet there is nothing I can give her.

Except, perhaps, this.

"No," I told her. She looked up at me, both concerned and hopeful. "I'm happy with this, just as it is."

"Me too," she told me, and kissed me.

So this is happiness.

Monday, April 13th

I have published my first parody novel. The reviews are calling it "a stunning work of heartache and wonder".

I give up, I decide, as I look out on my swimming pool and shrieking grandchildren. I am moving on to limericks.