1960s, 1967, 1970s, 2007, 2016, Billericay, birdsong, childhood, colour, cottage, education, Essex, evening, farm, garden, grandfather, green, image, John, Kenya, life, London, love, morning, Ramsden Heath, South Africa, uncle, war, windows, writing
I have come into possession of a piece of work that my Uncle Mick did during the 1960s. He was in his thirties when he wrote the ‘Boats of Vallisneria’ having survived a childhood of war and evacuation, having completed what education was available then, having completed a period of military service in Kenya and South Africa and returned to London, to move to Billericay in Essex, to begin his life proper. His father (my grandfather) died early in the 60s and he spent the rest of his life living with and looking after his mother living in the tied cottage to the farm he worked.
He completed this work because he wanted to explore the shape and pattern of [his] life. He completed it even while the changes in farming brought his work there to a close. [He went on to become a gardener and eventually set up his own business framing pictures]. He submitted the manuscript to Dent & Sons for publication, but they declined.
He let me have a look at the script when I was in my late teens and visiting and whinnying on about wanting to be a writer. This was in the later 1970s. I was way too green and cursive to read it with great discernment or generosity and commented that it was OK but quite amateurish (a youthful candour with which I hurt many a person close to me when I was young and arrogant – I’m sorry, everyone).
The dear man died in 2007, and I had long since forgotten his work (although I remember being honoured that he had shown me his work – it confirmed to me that being a writer was a noble thing to be). I had a visit recently from my brother who brought a whole case of artefacts from my uncle, one of which was the original manuscript.
… I think I’d like to publish it on my blog. Share the work with the world that he was not so able to do during his own time. In his honour. In memoriam. To preserve and celebrate the green-paint-on-sturdy-wood life of Ramsden Heath during the 1960s and 1970s. To celebrate the linen-atmosphere of small-pane cottage window looking out on the garden in all facet. To listen in on the darken-colours of morning and evening and bird-call in Essex countryside, every one different and newly-miraculous found.
While typing it up I felt I could tap the kernel of what he was exploring and cut in to his images and experiences within – and sometimes behind – his writing. I would also like to explore his writing through my own. And publish them alongside each other like a healthy pair of framed pictures above the mantelpiece. To celebrate my love for him. And make the contact with him that I was too gauche to make while he was alive. (How much I appreciate people the most, once I have lost life with them).
His work will come first … soon
read the collected work as it is published: here
1967 wormhole: 1967
childhood & morning wormhole: currency of generations
education wormhole: aghh – we’ve been infected / it’s spreading through the system / we’re losing our files … / it’s taken out the processor … / I, I can’t open with this program anymore … / it’s scanning me – / I’ve got to buy a Virus Protection Program / from it …
evening wormhole: constant hummm
garden wormhole: diligence
green & life & love wormhole: being in love – poewieview #26
London wormhole: tag cloud poem IX – haiku is awkward / the more that is left in / like uncombed hair
Ramsden Heath & uncle wormhole: Michael Redford: triptych
war wormhole: just saying, is all V: // … systematic and consistent disempowerment
windows wormhole: between thoughts
writing wormhole: balancing // with a whole lot of deft