the hearingpublished: 2011-12-16
How typical of me to show up at the wrong address. Here’s this meeting I’ve mentally been preparing for. It’s an important meeting and not even because it’s about money. There will be four people listening to me because I asked them to. I wrote them a letter saying, “dear sirs and madams, keep your money if you must, but I do not agree with your opinion of my novels.”This pushed a button that started a formal procedure. They organized a hearing for me.
I am on time, I truly am. But at the wrong fucking place. Somehow, my brain hasn’t registered the address. It wasn’t “Prinsengracht 89”, it was “Nieuwe Prinsengracht 89.” These addresses are about two miles apart. It’s pissing down by the way. So much for the bronzing powder. Why on earth do I need bronzing powder anyway? I know why: because I will not succumb to the wrongful idea that writers need to look pale for them to be viewed as literary writers. I am me. I have a fake tan.
So I enter the building, fifteen minutes late. I have never biked so fast in my entire life.
By now snot is dripping down my nose, my shirt is drenched from sweat and most likely I smell too. I am purple and slime has collected in the corners of my mouth, has formed a lining on my teeth.
I barge into the meeting room and know I must look like a wet feverish fury. They, the officials, are not amused. I try, really I do, to crack a joke about how I had a lovely coffee with this woman on the Prinsengracht 89 and kept wondering when the hearing was going to start.. Thank god they smile. Only briefly though as there is no time to waste. The hearing starts immediately. The chairman says what he is meant to say and then it is my turn to say what I want to say. “All right then,” is what I think. “I will do this while sniffing and panting and smelling and sliming.”
And so I do. I read to them the piece I wrote which states why I feel my writing is worthwhile. I make sure not to be angry, not to be insulted, not to attack other writers or them. Simply to explain what my personal view is on writing, and what my purpose is with it. Sweat drips from my face, I keep wiping it away with my sleeve. I hear my own voice. It is calm, I am actually making my point. It is happening.
When I leave the hearing I feel like something magnificent has happened. I have said exactly what I needed to say and in a way that is true to me. It’s still pouring down, and that’s fine too.