Monday 7 December 2020


 I created my Mailchimp newsletter for November at the very end of the month. Here it is, with a few further updates:

I am writing this update on the penultimate day of the month having waited and waited as the weeks of November passed for any Jago Stone stories and images to arrive in my webmail. My wait was in vain. Fingers crossed that December will prove more fruitful. [It has been - one new story and image so far - I will produce a blogpost very soon.]

The focus, then, this month is on my pandemic journal: 'Dying to Know'. This latest book of mine has a structure that takes the reader through a real-time journey during the months of the Covid-19 pandemic as I follow the 3.5 mile circuit of my local training run, up the hill side to the top at Little Trevalgan and back down again. The literary run that fills the pages of the book is a composite of of all my local circuit runs made over a period stretching from March 2020 to the early months of 2021 - 62 runs, to date [now 65].

Last month, I included three images from my own camera of Little Trevalgan views. There are more this month.

The view from the summit of Little Trevalgan - the B3306 is visible on the middle right of the photo - this is my running circuit. Note the church of St John's in the Fields.

In my book, there is much that is only too real. But there is also magical realism. I have a magic tree and bole on my run that I can enter at will. My book is many things. In part, it is an exercise in autobiography. In part, an indictment of the government of the UK. In part, an exploration of the history and science of viruses. In part, a reflection on the local landscape and its history. In short, an examination of any of the thoughts that bubble to the surface of my consciousness as I persuade my body to follow the motions of still being a runner.   

Last month, I explained that I had taken advantage of a relaxation by Mailchimp of their policy regarding the free subscription. You used to have sign up yourself. Now I could sign you up myself if I believed you would be willing. As a result, my Mailchimp newsletter for October was delivered to 134 subscribers. This month's newsletter will be delivered to 132 subscribers. Evidently, there is enough interest in the contents. My thanks to all of you for your support. 

The pond is opposite Hellesveor farm - this is where the Good Friday model boat regatta takes place.

I made a special appeal last month for you to press the Follow button on my blog-spot. As I explained, I did this because Lord Strathcarron of the Unicorn publishing group has shown an interest in 'Dying to Know', my pandemic journal - but he wants me to develop a higher social media profile. He sees the niche market potential of the book and understandably wants me to spread the word about what I am writing as widely as I can. When I made that appeal last month, I had 5 followers; now I have 23 [26 is the latest figure]. 

Many thanks to all of you who have pressed that button. What an amazingly diverse and group you are! Artists and writers from Penzance and St Ives in Cornwall and from Indiana in the USA; in Canada, a professor of history from Nova Scotia and a computer specialist from Ontario; a computer specialist and a former surveyor, both in St Ives; an educational consultant in Kent and a former university dean in Bristol; a church leader in St Ives and a bishop, a teacher and a student all on the English south coast; in the USA, former US air force personnel; a Cornish kennels owner; a Dutch researcher; and a UK political activist. 

Do join the crew, if you have not yet pressed the Follow button.  

Here is the precious link to press - here. It will take you to one of my latest blog-posts and on the top right-hand side you will see the Follow button. Press it and make an author - and his potential publisher - very happy. You are guaranteed access to my blog-posts and all that they explore.

One important point to note: you do need to view the blog-post on a full screen not on your phone - a couple of you have told me this - in order to see the Follow button. I am determinedly resisting bringing a mobile phone into my life - except for emergencies. 

Running down the hill

I thought you might like a taster for 'Dying to Know' - here is an outline of the content of each chapter to date:

Chapter One - Points of View - I record the thoughts that surface in my mind as I force my body to continue running up the hill to the summit. The nation has just moved into lockdown as the pandemic sweeps across the land in March 2020. Ingrid, my Dutch reader, has described chapter 1 as sublime. I am honored. In that opening chapter, the voice and pace of the rest of the book is established. 

Chapter Two - Magic Interludes and COVID - This is controversial. Ingrid and Jessica, my reader in the United States, worried that it would alienate some readers. Ian Strathcarron, my potential publisher, presumably sees the chapter as being successful in business terms, however nonsensical the ideas driving it may be. I see it as a twelve-page headliner for the future public inquiry report into the history of our pandemic. The version that has not been whitewashed.

Chapter Three - Summit Thoughts - These are my reflections as the nation is being nudged towards more freedom after lockdown. We are approaching the summer. July is beckoning.

Chapter Four - A Good Result - Half-way through July now and this chapter takes on an autobiographical emphasis. 

Chapter Five - Global Matters - I explore the realities of summer running in a world facing global extinction as well as a deadly pandemic. All this as the Black Lives Matter movement explodes across the western world. Brent in London is explored within the framework of my own life as memories surface on my run. 

The granite outcrops at the summit of Little Trevalgan

Chapter Six - Viral Flows - It is now early September and across the globe the evidence for the arrival of a second wave becomes ever more clear. Just over 100 years ago, another killer virus - Spanish flu - swept over the world. As the historian, I tell that story. 

Chapter Seven - Viral Revelations - It is late September and I don the mantle of the scientist. This is a war against a virus known as SARS-CoV-2. Know thine enemy. My teaching skills are married with my newly acquired discoveries as an apprentice scientist to bring the reader an understanding of the coronavirus phenomenon. 

Chapter Eight - Death Tolls and Interconnections - Late October now and I weave together strands of reflection upon events and people that have shaped my life with tales of our misgovernment and the misuse of statistics about death.  

Chapter Nine - Pavement Matters - We are in mid-November. I have reached the pavement and the outskirts of urban St Ives on my return run. We continue to be misgoverned. I reflect on the changing landscape around me and the reasons for holding on to hope. 

Chapter Ten - The Great Carbona - December has arrived - a time of preparation and winter solstice hope. I continue in my role as a maverick prophet and this time become the economist, preaching the gospel of MMT - Modern Monetary Theory. 

The memorial plaque to the St Ives artist, Peter Lanyon (1918-64), at the summit of Little Trevalgan  

 I hope all this whets the appetite.

Finally, a request: 

Do you have family and friends who would be interested in the content of 'Dying to Know', a pandemic journal of literary merit and unusual form? Please would you explain about the book and ask them to press the Follow button on the blog-post and sign up for this 'Dying to Know' Mailchimp newsletter on my website page.

If enough did this, you can imagine how this would snowball. Writers - especially in pandemic times - have to be dreamers. And I do genuinely believe this work of mine has both literary merit and serves as a powerful voice in understanding the plague that has struck us.
Thank you so much if you are able to support me in this suggested way. You will be helping me solve at least some of the problems I face as a writer confronted with COVID-19.  

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