Physics for Poets

I was inspired in part by Arthur Nersesian’s The Fuck Up which catalogue’s in gritty and loving detail the urban chaos of New York in early 80’s.  I loved the way NYC received as much lavish attention as any of the other characters of the book.  I started Physics because I wanted to capture a sense of Durban on the cusp of the nineties, a cultural snapshot of the moment.  I’m not saying that’s what I’ve actually done! But it’s what I set out to do.

Physics is my first novel.  I had a short story published before called Table 18, about an upmarket restaurant manager’s wrangle with a celeb.  I had written scenes for Physics through the years, all very badly.  One night, armed with a South Australian Shiraz and a book of post-its, I plotted out a possible story on the wall. Over 8 months I wrote pretty close to the scenes I had plotted out that first night, until I had 50k words.   And then I edited and edited some more.  And when I was done with that I had someone who knew what the hell they were doing edit the first three chapters.  I submitted those 3 chapters to six South African publishers.  Penguin SA came back about 6 months later and asked to see the rest of the novel.  I still remember the beer and pub where I saw the email come through on my phone.  What a great beer.  So I spent a crazy week fixing the bejesus out of it with my editor and gave him an insulting amount of money in return.  I sent it off.

And every day for the next 6 months I woke up expecting to get the email.  The email that said Yes!  We love your manuscript.  Some days I knew it was going to be a no and others I let myself hope.

When they finally said thanks, but no thanks I took it my stride, going on a three bender, smashing up a 7-11, a children’s shoe shop and a drive through bottlo.  After the trial I decided to publish anyway and here we are.  All up, it’s been 2.5 years since I wrote the first line.  I hope you like it.

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One Response

  1. That’s not true, and you know it. It was a McDonalds, not a 7-11. I remember the look on your face as you ran towards me, holding Ronald McDonald’s severed head by the hair, screaming “Drive! Drive! Drive!” We’d probably have got away with it too, if we’d actually had a car.

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