Noticed By A Poet

A couple of months ago a mutual friend put me in touch with a poet in Cambridge. Tracey, the poet, is also a self-confessed “techno-phobe.” Nonetheless, she is hoping to see her work in e-book form (it’s already in print) and our shared friend had thought of me, and I offered to help.

In the interim, however, we have had our house move here to Hertfordshire, so I haven’t been able to be much help yet. But recently she wrote me that she wanted to read some of what I’d written. Well, I found out yesterday: she texted me that she now has Passports:

Screen capture of a text message to me yesterday.
Screen capture of a text message to me yesterday.

I’m NOT a poet, and I know that. Although, I suppose, I do make “efforts,” here and there, to slip in a bit of “the poetic.” One example:

Excerpt from "Frontiers." Click to expand.
Excerpt from “Frontiers.” Click to expand.

If one defines as “poetic” what I attempt there. (If you’ve followed me for some time, you probably know this already.) When a dear girlfriend we’d known for twenty years died suddenly in February 2014, I’d had only just started writing Frontiers. The previous summer we’d talked about the first book, Passports, which I was then in the midst of writing, and she had encouraged me.

She died before she ever saw Passports. I was gutted. In fact, I was so upset I almost gave up writing, and seriously considered deleting this – then barely three months old – web site and just vanishing.

Within weeks, though, I realized she wouldn’t have wanted me to do that. Yet I wanted to do something for her. But what could be done? She was gone.

When I was able to face the keyboard again, ideas hit me. (Remembering all this again, now, nearly two and a half years on, is actually making me a bit teary as I write this.) Not only would I dedicate this new book to her (that was a no-brainer), but I would also fit her into the tale in a cameo as the real person she was under her real name – no fictionalization whatsoever. (Other than she is a real person dropped into a story full of fictionalizations of other people.) I tore into writing with an even greater determination than previously.

The original photo for the “Frontiers” front cover, run through the Prisma photo artwork app.

As a novelist, you never know what is going to grab any particular reader. So when a poet notices, and likes, what you had considered just a line much like all the other lines that make up your book? That can’t help but make a “non-poet” feel pretty good. 😉

And you have a good day, too, wherever you are in the world. 🙂

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Author: “Conventions: The Garden At Paris,” “Passports,” “Frontiers,” and “Distances.” British Airways frequent flier. Lover of the Catskill Mountains...and the 1700s. New novel of 1797-1805, "Tomorrow The Grace," due out in 2019.