Feather, Leaf, Bark & Stone

By Jackie Morris

A pillow book of poems, dreams & stories typed on sheets of gold leaf.

Thursday, 11 March 2021

How to finish a book.

I don't know how it works for other writers, but there are so many times with a book where I feel, 'right, that's it. All done'. I thought I was at the end of Feather, Leaf, but now I find a need for about another seven double spreads. So, time to make space again to get typewriters out, to think and to shape and to play. Meanwhile.....

I have been drawing foxes( practice for the Natural History Museum event in April-), buying watercolour boxes, thinking on paint and pigments. I have also been continuing to work into the book bought in support of Feather, Leaf.., a copy of The Unwinding with added images. Matthew, who bought it, asked that it become a gift for a mutual friend Rachel, also known as The Oxford Doctor on twitter. She's worked solidly through the past year with people dying from Covid. She's face herrendous trolling from 'experts' on twitter, of the ugliest kind. We see this book, a gift from both of us as an antidote to trolling. Maybe not an antidote, rather a counter-balance. I think I have one more dream key to paint and then I can post it to her. She has a new book out, called Breathtaking, an account of her work over the last year. She's an exceptional writer, doctor, person, mother, friend.

There's a couple of big pieces of news coming,  one I can't talk about that involves America, and one i can talk about. The Wild Swans and East of the Sun, West of the Moon are coming back into print. Part of a series called Tales of teh Wild, both are now available to pre-order from Unbound, but will also be in bookshops in October. You can order advance signed copies here. And you can also order them separately.

Meanwhile my head moves through teh shape of foxes, watercolour boxes with beautiful histories and down to the beach, and into the skies. Envious of my daughter's clean desk I finally worked out how to get a clean one myself, so watch this space for hints and tips on housework and how to tidy up. ( Those who know me well will understand that this is not my strong point.

I still have postcards to paint. There are two events from me on Saturday from Lancaster Lit Fest. The first with Shaun Tan, the second with Nicola Davies, both of whom I have so much admiration for as practitioners of their art. Both are free but you will need to book a place.

I'm working on a cover for something, settling myself back into my studio. Been listening to Robin Wall Kimmerer. She's an amazing author. This essay give lessons from the wild, a way to a better future. Have a listen, give yourself the time. It's worth it and so are you. We do so need to change the way we live and this is about the gift economy. I've just paid my vat. It didn't feel comfortable handing over money to a government who just settled a bullying case by one of their members by paying a few hundred thousand pounds to settle out of court. I see paying tax as a civic duty, but not when it is managed by people who see value in money above all else. There's a phrase in the podcast:' I store my meat in the belly of my brother'. It's all about the Gift Economy. I'm going to sell a few more foxes soon for a charity. I would rather do this than earn more, pay more tax. I guess it's my way of directing the tax I would have paid if I had earned the money for myself, if you know what I mean.

I need to go now. I have a fox and some stones to gild. Leave a comment on here and I will send the small gold soul of one of the gilded stones to someone I pick out from the comments.



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Mary Jowitt
 Mary Jowitt says:

I truly hope Rachel finds moments of calming peace and restoration from her wonderful gift
I love your relationship with those preloved paints seeing them come back to life at the end of your brushes and bringing life to creatures that are part of you

posted 11th March 2021

Popi Pribojac
 Popi Pribojac says:

I have recently discovered Robin Wall Kimmerer. They say the teacher will appear when you are ready..and she has!

posted 11th March 2021

Dora Szuromi
 Dora Szuromi says:

It must be incredible to be able to give people an actual, tangible piece of beauty to lift their spirits and counterbalance the ugly side of the world. It must feel incredible to be able to create beauty. To be an artist and a generous one at that. It is one of my happy thoughts that people like you exist. Thank you.

posted 11th March 2021

Amber B
 Amber B says:

I need to preorder the books. I am loving the foxes and the otters and the keys. Thank you for glimpses of beauty wishing the grey of these lockdown days

posted 11th March 2021

Crystal Moore
 Crystal Moore says:

I totally agree with choosing where you direct your resources Jackie.

The choices that you make have an enormous and often joyous impact. You set a brilliant example to us all.

posted 11th March 2021

Maxine Smillie
 Maxine Smillie says:

'Maybe not an anti dote but a counter balance'. Oh yes, the healing balm of beauty will out.

posted 11th March 2021

Kate Plews
 Kate Plews says:

I have been meaning to read Robin Kimmerer for a while now and this is a timely reminder.
My fervent hope is that enough people will emerge from this pandemic transformed in their aspirations, prepared to strive for a more humane, soulful life, with community, sustainability and the redistribution of resources at the heart of public policy. A kind of revolution really.

posted 11th March 2021

 Jo TC says:

What a lovely idea to gift your beautiful copy of the Unwinding to Rachel Clarke!

posted 11th March 2021

Cecibel Egan
 Cecibel Egan says:

I feel the same about paying my taxes when I know the money is never used in the right way..
When I read Robin Kimmerer is like I go into another dimension, it is as she whispers her stories to my ears...the integrity and the intimacy is what I most love in her work.
And I feel something similar when I see your paintings dear Jackie. Thank you for sharing your lenses! I have worked with chromitherapie for years and I so love colours!

Sending love in your direction.

posted 11th March 2021

Karen Forshaw
 Karen Forshaw says:

Thank you for honouring Dr.Rachel Oxford and her outstanding work during this pandemic in this meaningful and heartfelt way.

posted 11th March 2021

Lucy Coats
 Lucy Coats says:

It always gives me joy to read your updates, Jackie. I am so happy that East of the Sun and Wild Swans are being republished. I have my original copy, so this new one will go to a friend who has just had a baby and dreams often of white bears. Swans will go to another friend whose totem is a swan. They will both bring great joy to their recipients.

posted 11th March 2021

Paula Symonds
 Paula Symonds says:

All I want to say is thank you for your being, presence and energy Jackie

posted 11th March 2021

Stephanie Grayling
 Stephanie Grayling says:

Rachel will be thrilled with your joint gift, it will be treasured and lift her soul.
Everyone who has put themselves at risk to help/save others in these pandemic times should be respected and valued.

posted 11th March 2021

Donna Wright
 Donna Wright says:

Just ordered East of the Sun, West of the Moon and The Wild Swans. Very excited as I tried to order a copy East of the Sun, West of the Moon last year, after reading (and loving) the story, but wasn't able to locate one anywhere. Looking forward to Feather, Leaf, Bark and Stone too.

posted 11th March 2021

Allison Bailey
 Allison Bailey says:

Yes, your beautiful soul nourishing books deserve to be gifted. Getting one for myself somehow seemed selfish, so I ordered 2 others, one for my daughter, and one for my best friend Wendy. Wendy is like a soulmate. We only met in our 30's/40's and she is the most wonderful breath of fresh air, full of joy and laughter, intelligence and love.
I can't wait for her to see and hold this special book.. I gifted her your Silent Unwinding and Lost Spells books for Xmas and she had to catch her breath with delight....
...as did I when I received mine in the post...... we live on opposite sides of Australia now, her in Perth, me in Tasmania.... but I try and see her whenever I can .....
... you inspire me to paint in watercolours, and it is a truly beautiful practice to bring one into full presence... thank you Jackie.

posted 12th March 2021

Lauren Tyler-Rickon
 Lauren Tyler-Rickon says:

It is always a great joy to discover one of these updates waiting in my inbox :)
It's refreshing to see such an open accounting of the creative process--they've been very encouraging for me in dealing with my own work as an emerging poet during these deeply bizarre times.

Directing your funds makes sense to me: my spouse and I have been on a limited budget since last March when the live entertainment industry (and everything else) shut down here in California--it has understandably yet to reopen--but we're trying diligently to maintain our support for the charitable and creative causes we believe in.

posted 12th March 2021

Avril Horn
 Avril Horn says:

What a wonderful gift for Rachel. During this past year, I have often returned in my mind to that shining evening in Oxford in 2018 where you, Robert MacFarlane and Rachel were present to raise funds for Sobell House. The words of the speakers from the hospice have resonated more and more - about living what life we have, today, to the full.

Your words about taxes and charity ring so true. I am also happy to pay my taxes, but not when they are squandered on chumocracy and vanity projects.

Watching and reading about how you create has spurred me on in my own creative endeavours, and has even had me investigating old paint boxes! Thank you, and take all the time that is needed to finish Feather, Leaf, Bark and Stone.

I look forward to tips about tidying desks. If that includes tips about tidying stitching, fabric and thread, even better!

posted 12th March 2021

Angharad Westmore
 Angharad Westmore says:

I'd love a way to keep my desk tidy, and the rest of the house, I share your frustration on that front. I had an email the other day about your two re-prints, they look beautiful and wonderful stories I'm sure. I look forward to ordering them next month. Thank you for all the inspiration that radiates from all your updates.

posted 12th March 2021

Lisa Quattromini
 Lisa Quattromini says:

If there is one positive to come from these strange times it must be that so many more people are being drawn to nature and creative pursuits.
For me your work has been a great part of that over the last few years in particular and small moments of joy, trying to view the world as artists do, have been my saviour.
Well, that and my golden retriever!
Stay safe x

posted 12th March 2021

Jane Campbell
 Jane Campbell says:

I always enjoy your updates, almost as much as your books. So calming and informative without the mad rush of modern living! Your books bring so much joy and I am collecting and saving them for my grandson who will be arriving into the world in August. I look forward to the days when he will be old enough to enjoy stories and I can read them allowed in a soft calm voice. I feel your books are so full of nurture. Little islands of reflection and soothing beauty!

posted 18th March 2021

Jane Campbell
 Jane Campbell says:

* aloud! Eek

posted 18th March 2021

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