26 Fruits


Celebration time

Lines of Beauty - The Foundling Museum. Exhibition Private View - 3 June 2015

Lines of Beauty – The Foundling Museum. Exhibition Private View – 3 June 2015

It’s been quite a couple of weeks. Normally I count myself lucky if one of my writing projects leads to one big celebration in a year. In the last two weeks I’ve been lucky to win a D&AD pencil with eleven other Dark Angels writers for our collective poem on a hoarding. Then it was the launch and private view at the Foundling Museum for 26 Pairs of Eyes www.26pairsofeyes.org.uk , including a magical performance by Jacob Sam-La Rose and Toni Stuart (picture by Johnny Greig).

The third part of this celebratory tour is the launch this week of my novel Leaves. This is, for me, the most miraculous of the three events. Annus mirabilis, indeed, particularly when you add in some other big celebrations not to do with writing. But a first novel, finally published 45 years after I wrote its first draft – that’s a surprise at least. You can now buy it and read it, and I hope you will http://urbanepublications.com/books/leaves/

It’s important to enjoy these times while you can. So forgive me if this blog is more self-indulgent than I normally wish it to be. Let me try to be objective. What have I learnt from these three reasons for celebration?

1   You work best as a writer when you have other writers around you. The joy (and I mean that word) of 26 and Dark Angels is that you work with other writers. Their creativity and support nurture you as a writer. My novel in 1970 remained unpublished partly because I then did not have the writing networks I have now.

2   You never stop writing, and why should you even contemplate that? Writing exercises your brain, it keeps you mentally fit. If I were an accountant, I would long for retirement, but as a writer I have no wish to take up golf. So now, one novel published, I am writing a second. My summer holiday this year is going to be a trip to Spain and France to research some of the settings for the new novel. I’m now 12,000 words into it and more excited by it as a piece of writing than anything else I’ve done for a long time.

3   Writers need people to show faith in them, to express confidence in their writing. The main objective of the training I do is simply to instil greater confidence in writers. We are all creative and we can all become better writers. It was humbling to be on the receiving end of Andrew Motion’s gratitude when as his editor I commented enthusiastically on his sestude for 26 Pairs of Eyes.

We are none of us so grand that we no longer need regular boosts to confidence. Which leads me finally to thank Matthew Smith and Urbane for their vote of confidence in me and my now-published long-lost novel Leaves. Time to celebrate.




5 Responses

  1. Bigbrandjohn says:

    A whirlwind indeed. Can’t wait to catch up tomorrow. Serendipity allows me to indulge with two out of Three Dark Angels in two countries in a matter of days. Perhaps you could say I have been winging it.

  2. Mike says:

    John, as you celebrate your launch tonight, no doubt singing your new book with your yellow pencil, you will be surrounded by the writers and supporters you mention. How I wish that I am there. Remember that there will be many more of your friends wishing you well from afar. Enjoy yourself this evening. Mike

  3. Tom Scott says:

    Many congratulations John, on all fronts – but especially the novel. Sorry I can’t be there to celebrate the launch, but hope you all have a suitably festive time.
    PS: Have ordered my copy and am much looking forward to reading it!

  4. Rowena says:

    Already looking forward to your second novel, even before number one comes out. Well done.

  5. elise says:

    Congratulations, John, three bags full!

    So sorry I couldn’t be at the launch. I hope your next blog tells us all about it…

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