Friday, 22 July 2016


Writing a book is often likened to having a baby. And with some justification. There is the giddy conception and whirlwind of excitement, then the warm glow of a contract signed. It then the process starts to lag and become heavier; sweetmeats are deployed to maintain performance – pregnancy, like literature, is an endurance sport.
My new book, Published by Green Books, 22nd September 2016

Finally, fat and fecund with promise the manuscript is delivered to the publisher, for supervision and medical intervention if necessary. And, finally, the screaming and anguish suddenly stops.

The Author's desk (the buns have already been eaten)
And here is where the process differs. After months of to-ing and fro-ing, deliberations about nuanced argument and tone of voice, followed by concerns about stacking words in a column and balanced captions, it is confiscated. They just take it away.

To put it another way, it is like watching caterpillars. They eat and eat and eat and get bigger and bigger – then change. Stop. Hang upside down doing nothing. And there is nothing to do but wait.

The process of metamorphosis is mysterious and here I now find myself. Waiting. 

Somewhere out in the ether my book is magically transforming from lengthy files and hundreds of pictures, to something glossy and beautiful. Something that I hope will make me proud and, at any rate, is the culmination of months of waiting and working, visual and verbal creativity.

Someday soon, the postman will knock and deliver my creation unto me, like some kind of Royal Mail-sanctioned stork. Until then there is hiatus.

But it does give one a chance to tidy up a bit. Yesterday I came across a sketch pad of drawings and paintings I did half a lifetime ago, and some of them were not bad. It has been a busy twenty years, but this morning I am off to buy some drawing pencils to see if I still know what to do with them. And a rubber.