This Monday I decided to give it all up. Let’s face it – it was a silly idea from the start, this setting-up-a-publishing-house idea. There are too many threads to hold in my head at one and the same time. I woke up at four o’clock in the morning, wide awake, with a full list of people in my head who just hadn’t answered my e-mails. Why? Just why didn’t these people answer my e-mails? How did I sign the e-mails? Best wishes? No, I don’t think I put best wishes. Oh God, they must think I am unfriendly. On the other hand, perhaps my e-mails never reached them. That’s it, I thought. There is a problem with my system. Yes! Clearly there was a problem with MY SYSTEM. By the time it got to seven o’clock I knew what to do.
“I will give it up,” I said to my husband as soon as the alarm bell rang. He didn’t immediately reply.
“Did you hear what I said?”
“What will you give up?,” he asked sleepily. He obviously hadn’t followed the plot for the last three hours.
“Peirene, of course, I just cannot do it. I have got myself into something here which is far beyond me. I made a huge mistake.”
“And the books you’ve acquired for translation?”
“I’ll give them back to the original publishers.”
“I don’t think you should make any decision after a sleepless night,” he replied. That was a mistake. He shouldn’t have given me such common sense nonsense – not that early in the morning. The monologue he got from me in reply – well, he really brought it onto himself, didn’t he?, about how he doesn’t understand, he doesn’t know what I am talking about, he hasn’t got a clue. It’s too much responsibility, too many decisions, I am continuously out of my depth, I am not swimming, I am drowning.
That was Monday. I had it all sorted back then. The only issue was that I hadn’t set a date when I would give it all up. Therefore I felt somehow obliged to return to my desk until I had time to set a date. And also just in case my decision about giving-it-all-up wasn’t that sound in the first place.
And then something very nice happened. I received an e-mail from a literary festival organizer with whom I had briefly been in contact about “Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman,” the German novel that Peirene will publish next year. “Just been reading your blog,” she wrote. “It’s a lot of fun and made me want to meet up.” My heart made a little leap. Not only did someone reply to my email, but also wanted to meet me. Peirene was back on track. It didn’t take much, just one little kind note.
I emailed my husband the wonderful news. “I have decided to continue with Peirene. x”
“I never had any doubts! xxx,” he emailed back.
So, he never truely deeply listened to the tormented out-pour of my soul, did he?!