Monday, 21 December 2020
The best way for me to say thank you to all of you who have given your support to this book is to continue to work to make it the best it can be.
In the last week The Space Between has moved from 88% funded to 104%, ensuring publication.
This book is such an unusual creature. It doesn't contain the kind of images that I am recognized by. The words have become images. It is quiet, contemplative. A shift of focus. I think that is why I offered it to Unbound first, because they have the flexibility to allow a project to change and grow. (Hamish Hamilton also do this, as they allowed The Lost Words to elbow the Book of Birds aside for a while and have embraced the resulting changes to that project also.)
So many shared the giveaway. At midday today I chose a winner, by random number generation. The randomness chose Linda Verstraten, and I am still trying to get in touch, so, Linda, if you read this, I have just followed you on twitter..... can you message me?
Now I am going to tell you a tale.
I was scrolling through Instagram, as you do, looking at a jeweller called Hannah Batstone. Now this story has, I realise, more coincidences than a Thomas Hardy novel. My Hannah, who I had the good fortune to see in September, on her boat (whose name is Larry) in Falmouth, had bought me a beautiful ring from Hannah Batstone, in Falmouth, not realising that Hannah lived on the boat next door to Larry. It's the blue lapis one and I love it.
So, as I say, I was scrolling and another jeweller came up, Charlotte Bezzant. And I noticed that on her Instagram account she had swans wandering about in her studio. She also makes the most beautiful rings with star constellations.....I'd been thinking about writing on swan feathers for a while, so messaged and asked if she might have any. A box arrived and I was showing them to Cathy Fisher, whose studio is next to mine. She went a bit odd, but then said that she had bought Nicola Davies an acorn, made by Charlotte...( Nicola has a beautiful book called The Promise, illustrated by Laura Carlin, about planting acorns, changing the world, one heart at a time) How strange.
Today we exchanged solstice presents. As I unwrapped mine I saw a familiar sticker.
In the box, a bracelet. A silver birch bracelet.
Imagine, to have the silver birch lullaby learned by heart and a spell of silver birch twig wrapped around your arm. What a beautiful, handmade, stunning and thoughtful gift.
Today I made time to write on the smaller of the swan feathers. It's a tricky thing to do. Below is the scan, which may make its way into The Space Between. The background is paper, made at Two Rivers Papermill in Roadwater, from old and worn out ballet shoes that have been danced on.
The words are:
When feather falls
does it hold in its veins
the world's winds?
I have about a month now to pull this book together. It is a way of working that I love. It sharpens awareness. I need to get out and walk more, because in walking I find things. Yesterday I walked above Whitesands. The weather was interesting, sky like a Norman Ackroyd etching. The birds were magnificent.
I left a stone on the path, hoping that whoever finds it would have a lift of spirits. These days, they seem so hard to navigate.
Yesterday I discovered that two of my books had been chosen as her best books of 2020 by Maria Popova on Brainpickings. If you don't know Brainpickings then beware. It is a labyrinth of beauty, but it will lead you to the discovery of wisdom and beauty and creativity and the very best side of humans. It's the most magnificent counterbalance to these times, the days of political chaos we are living through. It is such an honour to have both The Unwinding and The Lost Spells on the list.
So, once again, thank you.
I need to go and write now.