17 October 2017. A somewhat memorable week and, especially, a day for me. Why?
Seventeen has longtime been ‘my number’. I lived at no 17 Knowles Street, when a youthling, and did my first adult writing there … funny, I looked at some of my teenage stuff the other day: my style hasn’t changed in half a century … so I started backing no 17 at the races with surprising success. Well, today is 17. 17-10-17. Sounds rather like my vital statistics, an eon ago…
The day dawned, and we set out on an organic vegie run, stopped off at the asparagus farm for the primeurs of the season, popped into the picture frame shop with an earthquake-broken frame … sigh, two beautiful Balinese pictures c1970, what memories! Then we headed home.
I mean, no one sends paper letters any more. But you still look in the letter box when you pass. ‘Kurt, there is a box for you at the garage’.
It will be my book. The book I wasn’t going to write. The book I started on, just for fun rather than publication, all those years ago in the long days and nights when Ian was living his last months … eleven years ago. And then I just kept going. Off and on. As I voyaged round the world. Until I had a stroke …
These days I can’t do a lot of other things, my right arm is shickered. I wobble. If I fall, I can’t get up. But my brain is fine (well ‘–ish’) and two finger typing seems to work … so most days I write. And write. And research. And write.
And by chance, last year, I was shaken from my retirement from the world of publishing.
A little more than a year ago, my really good 2001 biography of Lydia Thompson of ‘British Blondes’ fame suddenly reappeared on the bookshop lists. Paperbacked. So, I got in touch with the publisher to ask for a copy for myself. It actually still hasn’t come, but it doesn’t really matter, because one thing led to another and I found myself, instead, with a contract to publish some of the choicer slices of my last ten year’s writings. The short biographies (between three and thirty pages) of one hundred variegated Victorian Vocalists.
It has taken a year in the assembling, correcting, illustrating, editing and printing and on 10th of this month it was officially published in Oxfordshire, England. And today, just one week later a box of copies arrived at Sefton, New Zealand …
My seventeenth (depending how you count!) child. And a very handsome one. Perhaps, at the age of 71 (17 backwards!) I shouldn’t stop breeding after all..
OK, who is going to update my Wikipedia article?