Something about his words has made me feel a lot more positive that what I have written is worthwhile. I have no idea if he intended his email to be so inspirational, but it has certainly had that effect on me. I had better get those illustrations finished. I am sure it won't be long now.
How are the illustrations going? Just had a proper look at the ending of your early memoirs and thought it was brilliant. It's still as you say a bit random and unfocussed but I like that quality as I know you do. We seem to have a sort of ending too - how you ended up as an angry young man, with hints of deeply troubled times ahead. Fantastic resonance for anyone wondering how kids end up so fucked up. We don't need the rest of the journey for it to feel complete What is really nice is we sense the voice of the placid amiable man you are now, but how you got there is a story that has yet to come. A sequel in the making?
One thought I have which might help sell the book and direct the reader to the theme is a slight change to your title. Keep 'Elbows Off The Table' but change the sub-title to something like 'The Making of a Teenage Delinquent'. This kind of fits with your contemporary image as a Ramshackle Maverick... the beginnings of a journey that led to prison, fights, and ultimately living in a field in Yapton and sticking up two fingers to authority... But also it hits the universal idea that troubled, violent young men are not born but made without being preachy or right on about it. I think this might appeal as a text for anyone currently in care, or struggling to come to terms with a past in care and you could find your book being adopted by support groups concerned with such. Always good to have a market/niche in mind...
What to do you think?
Another good thing about this email is that I don't have a lot of writing to do on this post. Although I love writing for you, he adds hastily.