Sunday, 28 June 2020
and copies of The Unwinding have begun to creep out into the wild......
This is such a difficult time for bookshops, publishers, readers.
The books were a little delayed in their printing, and delivery. A couple of bookshops who had pledged for large amounts received their books direct from the warehouse. My author copies were delayed, as were those that were delivered to the publisher, but now we both have one of each of the editions and my hope is that tomorrow the author copies will arrive. But the waiting is more painful than its been for any other book.
Is it these times we are living through?
After so many years of publishing there is often an anti-climax that comes when a book arrives. That's it. Job done. And by the time it gets to you you've moved on to something else and another project has your heart. Not with The Unwinding.
How is this different?
I think it is The Silent Unwinding that makes it so. Or maybe it's the weight of the book. Or the texture of the cover.
When The Silent Unwinding reaches those who desire its company, that is when its life begins. That's not to say that the same is not true of any book. I could never understand what the fashion was for 'interactive books' in publishing. Aren't all books interactive? Reading is an active act that requires learning, imagination, thought, interpretation, visualisation. It's not passive, but it can be peaceful. But with The Silent Unwinding my hope is that this is taken further, with people reading the pictures, writing, drawing, dreaming.
And how have I found this? Well, time to confess. I found writing and drawing on the proof pages easy. One at a time. The image below is inspired by a poem I found on Instagram by Joseph Coehlo. I knew there was a single page somewhere with a snagged feather, and when I read this I wished to join the two together and so I copied out the words, drew a feather, used the sealing wax and made this. I asked Joseph if I could offer it for sale, to raise money to place copies of his latest book, The Girl Who Became a Tree, into the food bank in Hereford and he said yes. And I thought I would offer it here first. £156 will put 24 copies of teh book into the food bank. Email me at email@example.com if you wish to own it and I will tell you more.
So, flat sheets ok, but when it came to drawing in a book, not so fast! It's taken me a while, but now I want to draw on all the books! I find myself in quiet moments thinking of things to write in a copy and have decided to keep a copy in my van, for when thoughts arise.
And in quiet moments too my mind remembers pages and begins to imagine what I wish to do with them. This is a focus for dreaming I had not imagined when making the book.
Can't wait to get my auhor copies, can't wait for all of you to get yours. The staff at Unbound are working hard to get them out there, to pledgers. And also have just realised I have pledges to honour, so am getting myself into gear and signing prints. I need to order up The Whie Cat prints, but all of the others I have ready so just need to get them to the people who have pledged. There are prints available through Number Seven Dulverton and Solva Woollen Mill, for those who wish to buy them.
This project is coming to a close, but that in itself is a beginning, and I have begun to frame a new idea. I sent off the pitch to John at Unbound today, by post. I hope he likes it. I find myself becoming more analogue minded, with my type writer, ink pen, dip pen and sealing wax and teapot.
I've also unearthed The Pillowbook of Sei Shonagon and am reading through its pages again. 1000 years old, and still relevant, she sings to me across time, across an ocean. One of the things I thought to write into the pages of The Silent Unwinding is quotes from this text.
My hope is that this week the post will not disappoint, that pledgers will receive their books, and likewise the other bookshops who also pledged their support, all of which made this book possible. Only independent bookshops will have copies of The Silent Unwinding, which is a wonderful thing for me to know as more than ever now they need our support.
So, over the next few weeks I will begin to frame a new project, settle my head to Birds, finish signing tip in sheets for The Lost Spells, do an event with Number Seven Dulverton, get prints done, made and sent out to pledgers, write, paint, walk and maybe have a day off. And I will continue to enjoy the life of the garden, which I have noticed more over the last few months thanks to Mrs Noah's Garden. There is passion in my garden and a toad in the porch of my house.
There are teasels too, grown from the seeds of some that Andy brought me, because he knew I liked to paint teasels. They hold rainwater in their leaves, drown insects and consume them. I am waiting for them to blush with their delicate flowers. Then I hope to lure in the goldfinches to eat the small seeds to thank them for their songs of teh summer. I love the shape of them.
I'm hoping to find the time to do a blog post on the work of Shaun Tan, who won the greenaway Award this year. His work is sublime.
Take care my friends, in these uncertain days. Let me know when your books arrive. If you wish to post your images of Unwindings on social media tag them with #theUnwinding, and I will find them. Lets support and encourage each other and try to build a place of beauty.
The Unwinding hardback
- Narrated by Bethany Porter
- Music by The Bookshop Band
- 18 tracks (including two new songs)