Thursday, 19 January 2012

Writer's cramp

In the summer of 2007 I reinvented myself.

I was tired of being pigeon-holed under the name I usually went by. I wanted to break free from the personal straitjacket of a locally high profile job I'd had for five years. So I took the first name of my maternal grandmother and married it to the maiden surname of my maternal grandmother.

And so Maddie Grigg was born. I liked her a lot. She was a bit kooky, a wild romantic who lapped up the world around her and with a fine eye for detail, the amusing and the amazing. She was my online self, the real me behind that other, duller person. A rural Bridget Jones and not as fat.

The irony is that the Grigg side of me comes from a long line of recluses, three of whom to this day live in separate corners of the same Somerset field. It's as if my assertive granny (Maddie) has kicked my shy granny into action.

One of Maddie's poems was shortlisted in the prestigious Bridport Prize competition, her blog was chosen as a Blog of Note (just look at the editor's comments on Real West Dorset) and she had a piece in the Guardian, which prompted a pedantic correction (honestly, their sub-editor told me to use the word epicentre in this context. The BBC do it all the time).

And then Mrs Champagne-Charlie's scriptwriter daughter pleaded with Maddie to send her some material from the blog. She was going to knock it up into a film just crying out to be made for Ray Winstone and Joely Richardson in the leading roles.

And then a story about Maddie's grandfather won the People and Land writing competition in the Marshwood Vale Magazine. And a piece of Maddie's prose was selected for a forthcoming book, Dorset Voices.

Maddie was on fire.

And do you know what happened when she sent the first thirty pages of a book based on this blog to three agents? A polite but immediate rejection from Conville & Walsh and no reply from the others.

And what happened when she emailed Winstone's production company with a great idea for a Sunday prime time television series? Nothing.

And then Mr Grigg said: 'Do you think there comes a time when you should perhaps give up writing? After all, you are fifty. You haven't written a best seller yet.'

'I have,' I said. 'I just haven't sold it yet.'

And then Mr Grigg started his own blog.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x


  1. Not having read your thirty pages I have no idea whether to encourage you or not - but so much is random . . . so much depends on the order you do things.

    I'm going to take over your line about best sellers and use it for myself - you know, like looking into the mirror every morning and saying 'Every day and in every way life gets better and better'. I don't and it doesn't but . . .

    P.S. Did you really have a poem shortlisted for the Bridport prize? That really is something!

  2. Don't give up - good heavens, you've just started!!

  3. Oh Maddie ... loves that response ... I just haven't sold it yet! You rock!

  4. You have so many things to be proud of, and rewrites to do. Keep on keeping on. And don't listen to Mr Grigg. Interesting about your name, I thought it might be the only true name on the blog. Great name, though, and you have many fans.


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