Feather, Leaf, Bark & Stone

By Jackie Morris

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

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Out in the wilds

Feather Leaf has been quietly out in bookshops for a while now. Last Thursday I signed a few copies in bookshops in London. Lovely to see the book here in the window of Lutyens and Rubenstein ( where they are looking for someone to work!!!!!- dream job.... bookshop.. Nottinghill) WHile we were standing outside a couple walked past and were talking about the book.... strange, curious, very odd feeling.

Hachards was very exciting. Such an amazing bookshop who seem so far to be exempt from the ultra low efficient 'hub' that Waterstones operate which is damaging to readers, booksellers and massively damaging to authors incomes and diversity in book selling, but that is another story and one I really need to talk to the Society of Authors about. In the window was a beautiful old Underwood. So, inside we set up my old Smith Corona for some impromptu poetry.

I'm hoping by now everyone has received their copies of the book. People are beginning to find it in bookshops also, and I wonder what that experience is like, as all of you have been in it for the ride and the making and evolving of the book, so, what is it like to just come across? A friend (Jamie Normington) tweeted this wonderful photo ( he said there were five ravens nearby, circling) and it got me thinking..... could you tweet/ put on facebook/instagram if you use them, images of the book? It really helps to spread the word, to sell copies, but also, well, it is just lovely to see them living wild lives.

If you want to use a # then maybe #FLB&S and tag me and Unbound.

Also, if you wanted to make short films of reading from the book that would be amazing. I will do a few too. 

Talking of instagram, I have a new account called Sharpening of the Day, which centres around pencil shavings! For now. This was yesterday, at Cambridge Folk Festival, on stage with Spellsongs.

Before I go I want to say a huge thank you to John Mitchinson and Rina Gill for taking me around bookshops in London to sign copies of Feather Leaf. Heroic driving from John. Rina bought Hannah the most beautiful flowers. I'm still in London, looking after her as she recovers from pretty hefty spinal surgery. She's doing well. Strong, fierce.

I picked up a book in London Review of Books Bookshop. By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, called Notes on Grief. In a way that is what Feather, Leaf is, and yet it is also light and life. Chimamanda's book is small, and perfect. It howls with rage against the loss of her beloved father, who died only a couple of months after my own. Reading about the breathless confusion of trying to come to terms with her loss, touching minds with another soul paying the price of love, well.... it is a beautiful book. Everybody's response to grief is their own. I didn't cry much, yet. I don't think it's something to be 'got over', something to 'move on from', rather something to learn from and live with, that sorrow, walking hand in hand with the joy of living, made more profound by being finite. I even took Chimamanda's  book on stage with me, to keep it close. I think it is something I will return to, as I continue to try to make sense of life, of love, of loss and of time. The book is published by 4th Estate.

Tell me, are you prepared to write in your own copy of Feather, Leaf, Bark & Stone? I have been using mine as a notebook... a store for feathers and leaves. Just wondered if anyone else would as there is that space in which to add.....


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Jean Forbes
 Jean Forbes says:

Thank you Jackie for this lovely post. Independent book shops are the ones to support. I Iived in Sydney for ages and would go always to Gleebooks in Glebe Point Road. I agree with grief being something to learn from and live with; my parents are long dead and I feel a relationship with them - tell them things sometimes! Your book that I have recently received is wonderful. I will buy more for presents.

posted 1st August 2022

Pamela Barone
 Pamela Barone says:

Thank you for provoking me, in a good way. The guilty thrill of considering writing inside my copy of FLB&S or the Silent Unwinding has my heart going pittypat. I hold a pencil and the book but no, not yet. It is August 1 as I write. Back in 1989 I was still staggering from the death of my brother, July 31, 1989. Two weeks later I stood next to my beloved MIL as her Doctors explained that she had lung cancer, months to go. And two weeks after that I was trying to revive my father as he lay dying. Not to make a big deal out of that time, except that every year, the body and heart remember. I look outward, knowing how many people are losing loved ones to this awful COVID-19. Remembering loss makes me wish for any small comfort to those whose grief is fresh. I don't think there is any getting over, or getting past. There is only a kind of metamorphosis, a melting followed by emergence. Grief caused me to become a different person and I think it does the same for everyone.

Maybe that is one of the things your work helps me with. Thank you.

posted 2nd August 2022

Mary Berry
 Mary Berry says:

Somewhere in your photo from the stage at Cambridge Folk Festival, I am there. It was a glorious thing to watch you bring into life the otters whilst listening to Spellsongs. Thank you. I think grief stays with us like scar, it gets less visible, less obvious but still there and leaves us changed. I treasure my postcard from you which accompanied me into hospital for major surgery. I am taking FLB&S to France (our family happy place) with me and will post photos on Twitter. Your work calms and soothes and uplifts in equal measure. Thank you.

posted 2nd August 2022

Jackie Morris
 Jackie Morris says:

Thank you.
These are not easy times are they?
But there is still so much that is beautiful in the world.

posted 2nd August 2022

Joan Bailey
 Joan Bailey says:

Thank you for the update. I be wouid terrified of writing in your book and spoiling it, although adding printed out/ cut outs could be good.

posted 3rd August 2022

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