Thoughts on my collection ‘Nice’

It’s been a few months now since my first collection came out, so I thought I’d write a blog post about just what it means and how it feels.
Every time I see the book, I get a strange little feeling inside of me of pride mixed with a weird sense of justification. The book represents an acceptance, of sorts, that I’ve been acknowledged at least of being worthy of publication. And I suppose I could go back to my degree in literature and the essays I used to write about publication, ‘the cannon’, and the curatorial act of editing and publishing a book.
‘Nice’ exists, it’s out there. It’s mixing with the big boys, and with company that’s in a different league. It lives on shelves in people’s houses, next to books by much better writers and poets, more respected titles, with my name beaming out from its spine. And this is the scariest part. Because it looks just like a normal book!
These are probably emotions which every writer or poet feels. When we read a book, we see these people at their best. We don’t see them on a day to day basis, stumbling over words while buying a train ticket, or walking into the door of Superdrug because they thought it was automatic. I live in my own head and I’m wrapped up in the usual doubts and frustrations of being Robert Garnham the human being, whose a very different creature to Robert Garnham the performance poet / spoken word artist. This morning I spelled yoghurt all over the kitchen counter, and then accidentally missed the bowl when I added granola. It’s everywhere right now, because I haven’t had time to clear it up.
But the book, it goes out there. It’s filled with my best stuff, poems I’m really pleased with and a cover which I love because I based it on a very clear image which I had in my mind, a very clear representation of myself which I wanted the world to see. And every now and then, when I’m swimming or walking, or when I have time to relax, I tell myself, just for a second or so, ‘Hey, you’re a published writer’.
‘You have a book out!’
When I was a kid, it was all I ever wanted. I’d write, and I would write and write, and I would carry on writing, at break time at school, at weekends, every evening, writing, writing, writing. And when I became an adult and got a job, I’d write at lunch hour. I wrote novel after novel and I’d send them off, and nothing would ever happen.
Five years ago I discovered performance poetry.
So the fact that ‘Nice’ exists, with its deliberately understated title, means more than you will ever know! Because it’s out there right now, representing a Robert Garnham of the imagination, and it’s doing a damn fine job!  

 

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