Sunday, 23 September 2018

'JAGO' - THE BOOK - AND PUBLICATION

Louise and I returned yesterday from our Greek vacation on the island of Patmos in the Aegean - and there will be a post on that regenerating experience in a few days. This post is designed to widen the circle of those who know what happened with respect to my yet-to-be published biography of Jago Stone in the fortnight before we left for Greece at the beginning of September - and to whet the collective appetite for more updates. Here is what the subscribers to my September Mailchimp Newsletter have read:

'AND SO TO THE POSSIBLY VERY GOOD NEWS:
At the beginning of last week - on Monday August 20 - I dispatched Submission No.28, the last in the long list of attempts to interest first literary editors and now publishers that I have been conducting since March of this year. Six months of frustration. Now it would be self-publication - not ideal but at least the story of Jago would see the light of day.




  Monday afternoon, an email appeared from the Chairman of Unicorn Press - the recipient of Submission No.28 - saying my proposal looked interesting - please send 'what I had got'. A WeTransfer sent him my completed biography - 'Jago'  - in a file. He downloaded early next morning, did a publisher's read on a train journey that day - and emailed me at teatime. The communication was headed 'Jago Lives'. I opened and read: '...read enough to see … it is a good story well told, and I like the use of images and the cyber angle … No reason for it not to do well if marketed properly.'

We arranged a meeting in the cafĂ© at Waterstone's in Piccadilly, London, for the following Tuesday. Thus,  two days ago I met and discussed publishing and marketing with the Chairman - Ian Macpherson, Lord Strathcarron - for an enjoyable hour in which I learned a good deal about his world of print. I had travelled for seven hours for this meeting from Cornwall; he had just flown back from Chile taking fourteen hours mostly in the dark after travelling there for a photoshoot on behalf of the firm.





He had added an attachment with the first email sent the previous week which explained how Unicorn operate. I am into stage three of possible acceptance as a Unicorn author. My book is now being read more carefully by an editor who will make an appraisal. We shall see. It has been, without doubt, a very encouraging sequence of days as we prepare for our Greek holiday. More updates to follow in October's Newsletter.



Unicorn publish around 50 titles a year. Ian gave me a headline figure of around 145,000 books published every year in the UK. If Unicorn do accept 'Jago', it won't be a coffee-table-type book as I had envisaged because there are not enough plates of paintings. He has a picture of the hard-back biography with plenty of images that he would like to see as the book on the display table in the book-store in the future. His description sounded good to me.

We were talking the language of trade fairs in London and Frankfurt; Unicorn have offices in London and Chicago. Unicorn never talk just about publishing. It's 'publishing and marketing'. If things do work out, I will be fully involved in that marketing.

There's many a slip between the cup and the lip - but I do hope we can work together to see 'Jago' reach the widest readership possible. Hard-back first; then two years later, the paper-back version.'






 Fingers-crossed, everyone. Jago Lives.

Monday, 27 August 2018

DEATH, GRIEF, AND ART - PEDYR PRIOR AND MARY FLETCHER

Around three months ago, in May this year, I was canvassing on behalf of Pedyr Prior, our Labour candidate in a St Ives town council by-election. In the end, the Conservative vote was too strong. But we in the Labour Party locally gave it our best shot and Pedyr came close. Pedyr was our man - respected and seasoned and tough. Chair of the Cornwall Labour Forum. He had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy, even as he led his team of canvassers. The medical prognosis looked good.

Suddenly, the word came that Pedyr had taken a turn for the worse. He had had an adverse reaction to his fifth session of chemotherapy. Three weeks later, Pedyr passed away. On 25 June, we attended with many others his funeral at Treswithian Downs crematorium.




This blog-post is my tribute to Pedyr through the paintings and poetry of his wife, the St Ives artist Mary Fletcher. Mary has expressed her grieving through these images created on her iPad and in the words of her poems. I hold these images and word in high regard and am so pleased to play my part in helping them reach a wider audience.

                                     
                                     I  wake alone



                                     heart thumping



                                     pain through all my veins



                                     wobbly



                                     uncertain



                                     likely to pitch over



                                     can't drive



                                     can't survive

                                     can't see a way



                                     without you and don't want to



                                     Grief won't kill me though




                                     I asked it to.





                                                                                   Bagatelle.





                                    In love for so long, two sides of a calm quiet arch all held together, all happy and dancing.

                                    Balanced and sure, sweet and strong 

                                    Aware of this fragile fortune.

                                    And

                                    Now 

                                    He is dead so quickly, three weeks of suffering and hope and longing

                                    I'm left,  a loose marble shot out in a moment to rattle around so painfully

                                    Ricocheting stupidly, salted with crying
                                    Lost and lonely

                                    Afraid of everything 

                                    on my own.






                                    The palliative care team, the death squad

                                    invite you to choose a day to die.

                                    But we hung on to hope two more weeks.







                                                 Yes I hear you talking
                                                 something about plants
                                                 watering
                                                 or something else
                                                 Its like a film in the next room
                                                 Its like I'm behind glass
                                                 screaming
                                                 and you go on talking
                                                 about your happy life
                                                 about how life goes on
                                                 and I am behind glass
                                                 stuck in grief
                                                 drowning
                                                 hating it.





                                                    We made a circle

                                                    a strong fortress

                                                    and now its broken

                                                    and I am toppling.



                                                   A ruined broken circle

                                                   demolished

                                                   salt soaked

                                                   bombed

                                                   perilous

                                                   terror.





                                                       Tell Richard Gere I'm free

                                                       My husband died quite recently

                                                       I need someone to dance with me

                                                       I need someone to love me who I love

                                                       So much it makes me want to die

                                                       To whom I cannot say goodbye.

                                                       But if Richard should call by

                                                       One short waltz will do

                                                       I can pretend it's you.