Tuesday, 23 June 2020
And then there were three
I've been so longing to write these words- 'today my advance copies of The Unwinding arrived in the post'. But actually they arrived a few days ago and I have been too busy to reach my computer. I have been painting though, and this is good. It's what I like to do most I think, appart from sit and watch cloud shadows over land, the tide ebb, flow, birds fly.
I've been painting a piece of work to make a film that will air on July 19 in the evening and the Folk By The Oak Family Nest Festival. It will almost be in 'real time' and best advice is to wander in and out of it to watch progress. Not all of it is live. I've had builders next door for months now and they begin to fray my nerves. Been getting up and 4 and 5 to record before they arrive so the back ground sound is birdsong not angle grinders, cement mixers, tippers and diggers.
The painting is large. I'm going to get it scanned as I feel it may move into a new Unwinding, but the original is to become a kind of raffle prize. The festival is taking place as a way of giving an audience to musicians and also helping to secure funds for The Willow Foundation. Charities have been hit so hard as many festivals become places where revenue is raised and all are cancelled. Likewise the incomes of musicians in these days where live gigs provide so much of their income has been shattered. Donations to the festival will be split 50/50 with teh Foundation and the performers, and anyone who donates will be entered into a draw to win the painting ( the value being around £7000). It's a peaceful painting of calm, hope, meditation. It was a joy to make, so I hope it finds a home that will shelter it, where it can glow quietly in a corner, inspiring dreams. Keep an eye on Folk By The Oak for details of the festival.
Anyway, back to the book. What began as one became three. The first is the 'special edition'. These are available from for pledge holders, and from a few selected independent booksellers. The edition has almost sold out and I am trying to persaude Unbound that we need to extend, or make a second edition, because my hope is that people will want to buy it for presents for friends, family.
The second is the trade edition, which has the title and my name on the cover, but no hidden story beneath the cover.
The third is The Silent Unwinding. All of the images, an introduction, then space, for you to draw, write, doodle, stick, play. An invitation to creativity. I called it a 'colouring in book for writers', where the colouring is made through drawing words.Below shows the difference between the two books.
So, what does it feel like when, after a year of work, of imagining, writing, editing, watching the design process, the book arrives in your hands? In this case it feels good. It has been a great experience working with Lizzie and then John at Unbound. The weight of the book feels right in the hand. I wanted something like a prayer book, small, intimate. The paper weight also, it feels just right. I wanted something that might help to ease the stresses of every day life. When it was conceived I had no idea of the world the book would be born into. One of its first readers has said that she turns to it in those times when anxiety increases, keeping it close.
We've a short film coming soon where John ( publisher), Alison (designer) and I talk about our working process.
The books are beginning to be delivered this week to all of you who have pledged and to bookshops who have pledged also. I will be doing an online event with Number Seven Dulverton in early July, followed by the Family Nest Festival. I really hope people will use The Silent Unwinding. A big part of me hopes that it will outsell the copy with words in.
As well as working on the painting of walking quietly through the world I have been running small auctions on my blog for The Trussell Trust who support foodbanks in the UK while campaigning for an end to poverty and the need for food banks. So far there have been three lots. Lot no 4 will be a print of a collage by James Mayhew for Mrs Noah's Garden, a book written by me, illustrated by James. It is the most beautiful, gentle, peaceful piece. There is a bid in of £100. The print will be no 1 in the edition and will be accompanied by a book signed and dedicated by myself and James. We are both going to draw/collage on the title page. I can't get in to my blog at the moment. A technical hitch of great iritation is blocking me, but as soon as I can I will get the auction up live. Below is the image from the book.
We have had the most joyful time launching Mrs Noah's Garden into the world. It's a tale of joy, hope and home and seems to have come out at a time when these things mean so much. There's been a celebration of flower crowns to welcome the midsummer turning of the world, and while we appreciate that not everyone has a garden, seeing twitter bloom with #MrsNoahsGarden has been a joy. Here are a few and there's still time to join us, and Mrs Noah's Garden is available from Kenilworth Books, Solva Woollen Mill and Number Seven Dulverton and many good indies, with signed bookplates by myself and James.
By now everyone should have had emails to confirm addresses for delivery of books, so check your junk mail if you've not received one yet. And let me know when they arrive, with the #, #theUnwinding.
And, listen, thank you. Without your support this wouldn't even be a thing. If you want something wonderful to look forward to, to take you through the winter, Unbound are working with Bloodaxe books. There's a new volume of collected poems coming in autumn, called Staying Human. Every home should have one. It is a portal of learning of diversevoices in the world of writing. You can support it here, and bookshops if you can, talk to Unbound about pre-orders. It's every Christmas present you will need, and I don't know why I am telling you this when I am supposed to be saying 'buy my books' but somehow I cannot help myself. Poetry is so good for the soul. Take time, make time, to read slowly.
This has been sitting on my shelf for a while now. Coincidentally I was also given a copy by John, of Unbound, in a stone circle in England before lockdown. It's the place I now want to have all my meetings with Unbound when physical meetings in real places happen. I adore Hugh Lupton. It is an amazing book.
There's so much more to say, but also many things to do. Huge thanks to my neighbour, who has sent me some noise cancelling headphones by way of apology for the constant clamour of the building site. I will put them on, find audio of birdsong and pretend the builders are gone.
Thank you. Two small words. Heart felt x.
The Unwinding hardback
- Narrated by Bethany Porter
- Music by The Bookshop Band
- 18 tracks (including two new songs)