it's been great this week to go to a couple of events where jen has launched and spoken about her book run for your life. the first was an evening organised by the ealing eagles, the running club that jen is part of. there was so much support and love for jen in the room - it is a really incredible community.
then last night was the launch at maggies - a centre for people affected by cancer. it is next to charing cross hospital and it's where we would go and have lunch before heading into the hospital when jen was having chemotheraphy. i rather like this photo of maggies sign with the hospital reflected in it.
jen has written about the launch here. harry had written some poems especially for the evening which may well appear online somewhere. one is in jen's post which was four lines long but opened with the amazing observation that there is a mother in the middle of chemotherapy...
and of course i took a few photos
loving seeing peoples reactions to the book and the publisher pitch are doing a great job of lining up articles and interviews. all in all wonderful stuff...
we have a family tradition of a meal for new year where we look back over the previous year and what has been bitter and sweet and then look forward to share hopes and dreams for the year ahead. i really can't remember when we started it... the food is usually themed in some way in with bittersweet and this year the cocktails were too with harry mixing up some whisky sours. in sharing for the year ahead one of the themes was making space for a good balance between work and play, between woork and family, between commercial work and art. joel summarised this nicely when he said that in their graphic design business they say we need to do more cool shit! i was given a light box for christmas so that is now written and glowing in our kitchen on the shelf. there weren't enough 'o's so the o is improvised from a couple of 'u's.
we always offer up some prayers and i have to say my favourite prayer for the year ahead which i will remind myself of was "help us to do more cool shit!' - in other words to make enough space for those things that often get squeezed out. amen to that! i hope i'll do a bit better at blogging in that direction this year...
jenny has written a book on her journey through being diagnosed with breast cancer and the ensuing chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy and recovery, coupled with her love of running and how that was a big part of her journey. the book is out in a month. it's published with pitch publishing.
i am so close to the story it's hard for me to be objective but i think it's a wonderful book. it will of course be of interest to anyone facing the diagnosis but i think it will also help anyone who knows someone facing that whether friends or family (which is probably most of us). jenny runs a blog and if you haven't read it do. her writing there on the journey is what was the spark for the book...
was a treat to have lou baker artist satying this week while she is exhibiting in barking in a show of yarn and knitting called unravelling - it's on until next weekend. i have added a few photos here but i found myself drawn to the colours which i tried to abstract. lou told me this piece was to do with waves and it certainly looks like the sea when stripped down to its colours... it's probably annoying for lou for me to have done that but i did take some photos of the work too. reminds me very much of your work blythe toll if you are reading!
a massive congratulations to jenny on her MA in voluntary sector management from cass business school in city university london - doubly amazing given the last two modules were done while on chemo - and was fun to hang out for the day with a great bunch of new friends jenny has met and graduated with.
in jan 2004 i blogged a photo of our downstairs toilet under a blog post bog on the blog that we had stencilled with a couple of pippo lionni inspired stencils. we recently have painted over the walls as it was getting a little tired and were sad to see the stencils go so after a family discussion settled on a different pippo lionni inspired stencil and the bog is on the blog once more!
i am simply delighted to be grandad to baby flo!
harry graduated in july. so technically august is his first month making a life as a poet and it's all going rather well! admittedly he has been performing all over the place for the last few years while studying but you get the drift. he is up at edinburgh festival with his show the sunshine kid in the free fringe. this has been full very day so far and received some good reviews - see tvbomb and broadway baby for example. i loved this quote from the tv bomb review:
Underneath the veneer there is a melancholic yearning that often seeps through, a deep awareness of the intrinsic ache of the human condition. With this in mind, the poems develop into an argument for a positive outlook, for self-belief and for finding meaning somewhere within ourselves. This is a performance that will make you laugh and make you think; art at its transformative best.
as well as doing that he seems to have got himself invited into other events/shows to perform every day which is fun and how you get the word out about your show. this included an invite to perform on simon mayo's radio 2 show - a one minute poem reflecting the contents of the show. this went so well that he was invited back for the week. those shows are up on inlayer for mon, tues, weds, thurs of this week and no doubt the bbc web site as well (it's the first time i've listened to radio 2 for a while being more of a 6 music fan myself…).
i'm heading up to edinburgh on saturday to see the show and hang out and cheer him on which i'm looking forward to. the month will end up with him performing at greenbelt festival. today there is a big feature on him in the church times which is a rather lovely piece.
also this month (probably week) his TED talk will hit one million views by the looks of it - which is pretty amazing.
i can't imagine every month going quite so swimmingly but not a bad start!!! i'm thinking i probably should get a t-shirt saying 'harry baker's dad'. if you are in edinburgh saturday come to harry's show - see you there - though get there early by all accounts.
harry ran the london marathon today in 4:08 or thereabouts which considering he had a contraption to carry and had done less than ideal amount of training was absolutely amazing! he was raising support for the amos trust and also awareness. he carried a homemade sail with free palestine written on it. the height of it with his height was about the height of the berlin wall. the israel/palestine separation wall is higher but walls will come down eventually! for obvious reasons harry was easy to spot! there's a few photos here
harry has another TED talk up - this time he was invited to take part in [email protected] in london. on the power of self acceptance (and a little more wholesome than the don't flop battle!). i particularly like the line in 22 about the bankers being the robbers in a room presumably with a lot of people working in finance...
jenny has written a very moving reflection on grief a year on from her dad's death - there is no path. she has stumbled across a beautiful poem caled gabriel by edward hirsch which has helped name something.
I did not know that the work of mourning
Is like carrying a bag of cement
Up a mountain at night...
...Look closely and you will see
Almost everyone carrying bags
Of cement on their shoulders