When I began to take my writing “seriously,” I was looking around for some sort of organization where I could meet other writers, or at least have access to information.   I called The Society of Authors to be told in not too many words that the Society was only open to people with published books (that might not strictly be the case, but at the time that’s what I heard).  Well, that was embarrassing.  And the scars went deep enough to turn the Society into one of my “signposts for success.”  When I can be a member of The Society of Authors, then I will have made it, I thought. The funny thing is that I didn’t think I would be eligible for membership with the publication of my poetry play, Dreams of May.  I wouldn’t allow myself to apply until I had published a novel.  What that’s all about I’d rather not go into.  But after Tangled Roots came out last year, joining The Society was one of the first things I did.  And last night I even went to their Spring Reception.  It was full of publishers and agents, all of whom had green name tags as opposed to the writers’ white ones.  It took two glasses of wine before I could muster up the courage to seek out a green badge and introduce myself.  As it happens, the green badge I spoke with was the Amazon representative who told me all about their print-on-demand scheme in the States and how that is turning out to be THE way that small presses are able to distribute their books in the US.  Interesting.  Something to think about.  For those of you interested, it is found at www.booksearch.com.  Some might think that not talking to any of those agents who were standing around like sitting ducks, so to speak, was a missed opportunity.  Oh well.  I was having too good a time catching up with Sarah Salway, and meeting for the first time, Emma Darwin.  And I must admit, it was a thrill to stand there and listen to Margaret Drabble speak about how all those green badges must remember that we the white badges are the ones who make their jobs possible.  Of course, she was extremely diplomatic but her point was clear, as was the fact that I was suddenly one of the “we” she was referring to.

All this has made me think about the silly signposts I have thrust upon myself.  Of course, when I first started writing and publishing in magazines, my goals were different than what they are now.  I’d like to think that moving “signposts of success” show some sort of progress, although I fear they only show a lack of confidence and misplaced energy.  But it’s still fun (though maybe not exactly full of mental health).  So here is a new meme for anyone interested.  What are your fantasy signposts for success?  In your wildest fantasies, what needs to happen for you to be able to say to yourself, “Well, I’ve made it.”  I’ll start:
* To be asked to sit on a panel at Hay-on-Wye
* To have my work translated into at least 2 foreign languages (preferably one being totally obscure, like Uighur)
* To give a talk and book signing at Shakespeare and Company in Paris, a la Ethan Hawke in “Before Sunset”
        * To have one of my novels made into a film (I’ll save going to the Oscars for my next signpost movement).
So who’s next?