Day 53

And again, nothing much happened . . .

I did once think of writing a witty modern novel about life in a coin shop, but I’m not sure where I’d get the material from. We only had two customers through the door today – one with £3 worth of coppers and one with a rare American coin. Or “rare American coin” if you prefer. He wouldn’t go away or believe the owner that it was common, until he was shown several hundred in bags. It was a modern quarter and although it has George Washington on it, isn’t that old.

In Europe, if we put someone on a coin, they tend to be alive. In America it is the other way round and to get on one of their coins you need to be dead. I suppose it is cheaper that way if you change presidents every four or eight years. We have had four different portraits of the Queen in sixty years, which is a lot easier.

My Orange Parker Pen

On the writing front I have just had a rejection to balance up recent successes. It wasn’t unexpected and I had wondered whether to send it or not. In the end I did send it as the writing is OK, it was just the subject that caused concern. So you ask yourself, what is Quercus doing writing hate-filled racist, homophobic, sexist, pornographic or violent poems?

Don’t worry, I’m not. It’s just a problem with translation.

Though we think of language when we think of translation, there are other things that can cause problems. Species of  birds have made me think about this in the past, goldcrests and kinglets interchange nicely but tits and chickadees have a tricky syllable mismatch.

No, the problem was a British cultural reference which was considered too obscure.

I was advised that notes may have helped but I find that a tricky area. Notes always make me think the writer is being condescending. On the other hand, I’m not keen on poets who write obscure verse either, and don’t really want to be one. To be honest, I didn’t realise the poem Adlestrop, which I reference, was obscure. If an American wrote about two roads diverging or only God being able to make a tree I wouldn’t find that obscure. Even with my low level of formal education there are some poems that I assume are familiar to everyone at some level.

If, of course, I were to make a joke about my submission getting a frosty reception, that would be obscure, unless you have checked the links.

Snowy Detail

14 thoughts on “Day 53

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      It’s just one of those words – as soon as we saw the sign we had to go. We told Julia’s dad when we next saw him and his immediate response was “Yes. I remember Adlestrop.”

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      I’ve thought of it, but have come up empty in terms of plot so far. Art fraud seems so much more fruitful, and you can go somewhere sunny. I just chose the wrong career path . . .

      1. LA

        Something like, a corpse is found and the guy has some semi rare coins in his pocket, and a slight imprint of another coin on his body. Police come to you as an expert in coins. You say the stuff in his pocket appears to be more expensive than the coin in the imprint, so you don’t know why that coin was the one he was killed for. You start researching and find that there was a coin with an anomaly or something but it had been lost in the 40s and presumed stolen by the Germans. While convoluted, the dry wit of the coin man, and his wife, keeps us all turning the pages

  1. derrickjknight

    Today’s two customers and so many of the telephone callers you have written about seem to provide food for publication – you could even throw in the neighbours who nick your parking spaces.

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      Yes, and following the recent fashion for making the protagonist a Special Forces veteran I could blow up the neighbour’s cars. Or is that just wish fulfilment? 🙂


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