‘Oh, I’m fed up!’ the Nymph lifts the piece of paper she is holding in her hands up to the level of her face and then tears it demonstratively apart right through the middle.
‘Peirene!’ I exclaim. ‘This is not the way to start the New Year.’ It’s our first day back in the office and we are sorting the post. ‘What did you just rip up?’
‘The rejection from the Arts Council of our funding application for helping to market our 2016 Fairy Tale series,’ she replies with defiance. ‘They deserve some rough treatment.’ She’s about to rip the halves into quarters.
But I’m quicker and pull the paper out of her hands. ‘Don’t! We need to file them.’
‘File this letter?!’ Peirene shrieks indignantly. ‘Did you read it?’ I nod. ‘Well, I guess then you know that their rejection doesn’t make sense. They say that they do not wish to fund marketing. And then in the next sentence they write that a more innovative approach to audience-building would have strengthened our application.’ Peirene jumps up from the chair, rolling her eyes. ‘Duh! Audience-building is marketing.’ She gasps for air. ‘And if there is one thing we are damn good at is building an audience with our salons and newspaper distribution and roaming store and …’
I interrupt her. ‘Have you finished? You don’t have to tell me. I know.’
‘…. and last year they rejected our application to take the roaming store across England’ She swallows the wrong way and starts to cough.
I tap her on the back. ‘Peirene, Peirene. Don’t get so agitated. They are simply perhaps not that keen on how we do things. But we know it works. And that’s what counts. ’ I pause. Then I add: ‘And we shouldn’t be unfair to the Arts Council. They’ve given us a lot of help over the years. Perhaps we are now grown up enough to go our own way.’
Peirene has stopped coughing. For a moment she is deep in thought. ‘You’re right.’ She straightens up. She is now looking straight ahead with a fiery glow in her eyes. ‘The year ahead will be tough. It will be a struggle. There will be tears. But we will get through it. And we will be the stronger for it at the other end.’
‘That’s the fighting spirit, my Nymph,’ I say and give her a kiss on the cheek.
By Meike Ziervogel
Image by Eden Janine and Jim, creative commons.
This blog was originally published as part of Peirene Press‘s series Things Syntactical. The Pain and Passion of a Small Publisher on 11 January 2016.