The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How not to secure a publisher.

Many, many years ago, when I still thought of life as long, I was in the Chelsea Arts Club, in London.

It was around Christmas time, and there was a party going on. I was a guest of a friend of mine who worked at the Club and was not, myself, a member.

I remember one balding and earnest looking man approaching the padded couch where I sat, by a convenient table. He looked at me, a little unsure of himself, holding his drink - and asked: "Is it OK if I sit here?"

I nodded.

"I thought I should ask," he went on, still a little unsure of himself, "because I am not a member, you know."

Neither was I - but I wasn't going to advertise the fact, as he was doing. Clearly, he felt out of place.

We began to chat. It was Christmas and even the English are friendly, at that time.

He was an amiable man and we seemed to be getting along well. Then I asked him what he did.

"I'm a publisher.", he said, without any idea that this might be a problem for him.

"Oh? I write." I said, without any idea that this might be a problem for me.

He cringed a little, almost too quickly for me to see and visibly pulled back in his seat. I understood, at once, why: he feared that I was just about to launch upon the "I've written a book..." spiel that he must have encountered too many times before. Here was a publisher, out for the night, with no desire to be pitched, yet again, for business.

I noted his reaction - and changed the subject. I didn't tell him anything of my book project, at all. He seemed so relieved and the evening, which had just threatened to become embarrassing, went ahead well.

At the end of our conversation, we didn't even exchange contact details. There was something in me that felt that he wouldn't welcome it, given his avoidance of randomly encountered writers.

However, I did gain something from our meeting. I shall never forget his instinctual cringe at the word "write" - from a man whose livelihood depends on words. Surely, publishers must be a besieged breed, with every writer in the world camped on their doorsteps. It can't be comfortable.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 8:41 PM 


Blogger Shannon said...

These types of incidents are there to separate the genuine writers from the rest of the bunch. If you have not already seen this video, Randy Pausch's speech "The Last Lecture" addresses this brilliantly:

BTW: I hope to see your books on the shelves of Barnes & Noble someday.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you for your supportive words, Shannon. I, too, hope to see my books on the shelves of Barnes and Noble. However, two things would be needed to achieve this: publication in the United States and a trip there!

I have heard of Randy Pausch...a sad but inspiring tale. I hear he passed away a couple of days ago.

I will take a look at the video.

Kind regards

5:00 PM  

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