‘While Giants Sleep’ was launched in Wirksworth Town Hall on Tuesday 22nd November 2011. The idea of a launch, indeed the whole notion of self-publishing this anthology, followed from a suggestion by my friend David Duncombe one winter’s afternoon in March 2010 while we were walking over the magnificent Longstone Moor in Derbyshire.
What seemed like an excellent idea at a distance came to feel more and more like a foolhardy enterprise as the appointed date and time approached. I dithered over my selection of which pieces to read, changing my mind many times. As I practised reading them aloud to myself I was genuinely unsure which if any would stand up to a public reading – at least by me. Additionally, I had no idea how many people would turn out for a gig like this. Finally, in a fit of obsessional checking, I called into the Town Hall at lunch time on the day of the launch to find the whole place – entrance hall, floors, stairs, tables and chairs thick with dust and a major refurbishment operation in full swing.
However, come the time, the place had been thoroughly spruced up by the caretaker and around forty people had arrived, all the seats were taken and one or two were left to stand up through the evening. Wirksworth people, our new friends and neighbours, were there in force as also were friends from various phases of my life, some going back 45 years, and my youngest son.
David Duncombe, who is a notable Derbyshire poet and winner of many national competitions, gave me a very generous introduction. I followed with two ‘sets’ of 20 minutes, two or three poems sandwiched between two pieces of prose each time. As I read, my confidence grew, the discipline of an audience helping me find new rhythms and nuances in the texts. In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to present my work to a wider audience, and hence see it anew myself, and the feedback I received on the night and subsequently has suggested that the people who came had a good time. Somehow, there seemed to be a strong sense of ‘occasion’ for many of us.
I am very grateful to everybody who helped make this such a special evening for me and especially to David his part in it all, Vally for seeing to the many practicalities and ensuring that everybody had a drink, and Shirley for handling the commercial aspects of the book sales.
Since the launch I have been busy thinking about how I might further promote the book. I am considering submitting at least one more of the prose pieces for magazine publication and doing further public readings. With all this electronic tagging it is now possible to instantly locate this book and blog by tapping into Google a few key words such as ‘author’, ‘shameless’ and ‘self-promoter’ and, bingo, you should end up being whizzed straight to here!