Sunday, 31 December 2017

I Edit A Book

My new year's resolutions for 2017 were to run 5K in under 30 minutes, to complete a 10K run, to find a publisher for my first collection of poems, and to use the blow torch I was given several Christmases ago to make crème brulée.  I have done none of these things.

There's a technique within Narrative Therapy which involves retrospectively re-telling negative scripts in a positive way. Instead of saying, for example, "I only got socks for Christmas," one could say, "I was given more socks  than I expected for Christmas. My relatives are thoughtfully concerned about the welfare of my feet. In fact, my feet feel cherished. And what's more, those socks came in a matching pair." *

I look back, then, at 2017 as the year in which I ran personal bests at four different parkrun courses in 3 different countries; as the year in which I came 16th in a parkrun, and in one race (the same one in fact) was the 5th female, and 2nd in my age group. It's the year in which I ran the Race for Life for the first time, the year in which I have run 140 parkrun kilometres.

2017 was the year in which I ate my first and last crème brulée doughnut, and this in Antwerp, my new favourite city. Eating the doughnut was such an incredible experience I thought my heart would burst.

And 2017 was the year in which I edited my first book of poems. Not my poems, but the poems of my dear friend Morar Lucas. Since the summer, we have been working together to shape her work into her first collection, Retrospective. Ordering the poems which she wrote over a period of forty plus years, pairing them across pages, working out how to produce all the bits of a book - cover, author photo, blurb, dashes, commas, hyphens, cover photo, spine - with the help of Morar's children Helen (my longest serving friend), Richard and Edward, her granddaughter Helena who is working on a linked website, and my dear friends Emily, Kev, Mike and Ted has been an amazing experience. Morar has been gracious about my editorial suggestions, and (fortunately) is rightfully delighted with the result. I could see from the outset what she couldn't - that the separate poems on their separate pages would together become a whole thing: a strong voice speaking of motherhood, family, faith and nature which deserves to be heard. We launched her book yesterday amidst family and friends in Somerset - the quality of silence as Morar read was palpable. The applause unanimous. The book sales techniques of her grandchildren Izzy and Johnny just on the right side of unscrupulous.

So 2017's resolutions are fulfilled in better ways than I had the imagination to invent. So I will make the same ones for 2018.  Let's see what happens.

* NB I didn't get any socks for Christmas.

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