A glowing endorsement

A Guernsey Double is about to be published. This is a project I have dreamed about doing since I started writing over thirty years ago. And at long, long last it is happening, and endorsed by the Guernsey Arts Commission to boot.

Amusingly given the length of time I have been thinking about the project, it turns out I did not have quite enough material. So the last few months have been spent in a frenzy of writing new poems. And while I am delighted with the results, I find I am nervously tinkering in the last few days with the new ones, and still noticing infelicities, which is worrying.

The book is a two person collection of poetry about the island of Guernsey by Richard Fleming and myself. Professor Edward Chaney has been kind enough to write the introduction: “Not since the extraordinarily poetic Book of Ebenezer Le Page has a single volume made the soul of the island so unremittingly its focus”, he says at one point. This is clearly rather good.

I have briefed Betsy Alvarez who is providing some excellent cover ideas for us. I am having to pinch myself.

Note to self: do not have the launch event the same day as an England World Cup match.

A Guernsey Double

Delighted to say that my book with Richard Fleming has received an endorsement from the Guernsey Arts Commission. Additionally Edward Chaney, who is the literary executor of G.B.Edwards, who wrote the best novel about the Island ever, has agreed in principle to write a short introduction for us.

Richard and I are now in the last throes of making sure our material is up to scratch.

Collaboration and trust

This this morning I received the sound file from Matthew of the main theme of This concert will fall in love with you… A really exciting moment hearing the first musical ideas taking shape. The piece may be as long as 40 minutes long, with words and music interwoven. Already Matthew has articulated a beautiful uncertainty in the music, which is perfect for the concept.

I am also currently working closely with Richard Fleming in Guernsey on a collaborative poetry project, called A Guernsey Double.

A successful collaboration needs chemistry of course. But I am a great believer in practicalities too. The most basic of these is that you need clear areas of expertise. In my project with Matt the difference is obvious: music is Matt’s domain, and words are mine.

One of the best things about having a background in a creative agency is that working collaboratively is second nature. As a writer I have usually been paired with an art director when tasked to dream up brands, or create campaigns or concepts. And this ping pong of ideas is, for my money, the most fun you can have in an agency.

Trust is the essential factor. When trust your partner, it is much easier to sacrifice your own idea when your partner comes up with a superior one – and know that they’ll do the same for you.

When trust exists it means you can make what is being created more important than either of your egos. And that has to lead to better work in the end.

As a footnote, and I don’t know if this is just one of my own foibles, I find it much easier to pitch work that I have worked collaboratively on. Knowing that it’s not just me who thinks something’s good, really helps when you are selling it into a client or, in the case of my current collaborations, when we set about promoting them to the public.