The month of August, when almost everyone you know is on holiday, is a miserable month for those compelled to stay behind for one reason or another.
The telephone at work hardly ever rings or, if it does, it is perhaps chasing an unpaid bill or enquiring, if you are a publisher, about the fate of a manuscript which is too ghastly to consider.
For the publishing world, like almost everywhere else, it is hibernation time, especially now that the book trade is in a dire state of impairment; when book sales are almost non-existent and bookshops clamour to send back unsold stock for reimbursement.
Paranoia becomes a daily occurrence as you try to make both ends meet with little success. You borrow money in the hope to repay it when trading conditions improve and you pray for a bestseller to get you out of your misery and save your imprint from a lethal dose of despair.
For an independent publisher of limited means it is invariably a struggle for survival. It’s fatal to weaken when adversity strikes. Your armoury is to keep your wits about you and have a good night’s sleep which will help you repel the odds stacked against you in the durability game.
My wife, however, is relaxed about the whole situation. She maintains that I have always lived on the edge of disaster which she alleges is the source of the adrenalin that keeps me going and without which I become a boring old fart, not worth knowing or bothering about. Perhaps she knows me better than I know myself.
There are times when I’m elated and times when darkness overwhelms my enthusiasm, only to be swept away in a matter of hours by an improvised hope that disperses the pessimistic clouds that give way to unexpected sunshine. Thank God that depression has never invaded my domain of realistic optimism that has rescued me every time the vagaries of fate tried to cause havoc with my life.
The month of August will soon depart and my spirit will again be elevated to an ironclad resolve to fight another day, and win hands down where the feeble-hearted might surrender for lack of faith.