I have a number of audiences for my Jago Stone blog-posts and one of the most important are the American readers - in particular the men and women who knew Jago the artist when they were serving their USAF tour-time in the UK at RAF Upper Heyford in the 1970s and 1980s and their children. I have been granted access to two USAF webpages and I have been reposting my series of 'JAGO STONE - THE AMERICAN CONNECTION' posts on their sites over the last few months and they have been read by over a thousand Americans and liked by eighty to date.
'Absolutely! I've been meaning to get on and tell you! I loved this man. When we moved there wasn't much television. It was shortly after they had added the "Breakfast Shows" and Jago was one of the featured guests on one of these shows. He told about his painting of Sulgrave Manor. He did it for the Flying Tigers to present to the President. My memory is cloudy about this next part but I believe it was for Gerald Ford.' [Yes - the year was 1976 and it was Jago's gift to mark the bicentennial of the founding of the USA. Sulgrave Manor was the ancestral home of George Washington and not far from Upper Heyford.]
'At the time I saw this broadcast it was still hanging in the White House. I was so taken by his story that I researched how to contact him. I asked him to paint our first home in England - #1 St Amends, West Adderbury. Now we were living on Whitley Drive on RAF Upper Heyford. We commissioned him for this piece, he did it - and
brought it to our home. Money was never discussed. This would have been around 1982. [The painting is dated
1983.] When he delivered our magnificent piece I expected to pay 100 pounds or more. When he told me 10 pounds you could have knocked me over. I offered 20 and he refused. He asked me to show his work and share his number with other Americans. I have three children and one of the most coveted items of our stay in England was the Jago Stone. I had it professionally reproduced for all three of them for Christmas a few years ago. For the three prints I paid $2500!!!! A small price to pay to preserve it - his artwork. From £10 to $2500!!'
|The Scheid's English Family home in Adderbury West, Oxfordshire - Jago Stone (1983)|
And now to the latest news about the contact that has been established between me and Unicorn Press. If you read last month's Newsletter or the blogpost that followed, you will know that on the morning of Monday August 20, I dispatched Submission No.28, the last in the long list of attempts since March to interest literary editors and publishers in 'Jago'. On Monday afternoon, an email appeared from the Chairman of Unicorn Press - the recipient of Submission No.28 - saying my proposal looked interesting and please send 'what I had got'. A WeTransfer delivered 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 this: '...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'.
|Waterstone's - Piccadilly Circus, London|
We met at Waterstone's in Piccadilly Circus, London, the following Tuesday for an hour. All went well. The third stage of acceptance as a Unicorn author awaited. My book would be read by a Unicorn editor and an appraisal made. Meanwhile, Louise and I continued our preparations for the annual rest and recovery vacation on the island of Patmos in the Aegean. I received the Unicorn editor's report during the second of our three weeks on Patmos. I am mindful of confidentiality issues so I'll confine myself to highlights - and cut to the quick by saying I seem to have passed this third stage.
|A view from Chora towards Agriolavadi on the Dodecanese island of Patmos in the Aegean sea - a place where the wind knows our name|
The editor wasn't sure at first how to respond to a biography that was not following the usual pattern. Then the penny dropped. I am now categorised as a post-modern author. How cool is that! I do need to provide more signposts for the reader to alert them to what I am about - and that I shall be doing. The text will be tweaked in this coming week. But overall, the book comes across as well written with great style and has a fascinating story, meticulously researched, that deserves to be told.
I have one last chapter to write to bring the story up-to-date - 'Postscript 2 - Jago in 2018' - and then we turn our attention to the images. We move closer. Fingers crossed still.'
From this late-November perspective, I can report that Postscript 2 was completed in October and the final text of 'Jago' dispatched to Unicorn. 'Jago Stone - The American Connection - Part Ten' will follow in a week or so and bring the story up-to-date. To conclude, here is a link to a video I made in early October about the latest developments: https://www.facebook.com/JagoStone/videos/276340219885242/