|Book Cover, from a photograph taken in Cubertou, France|
All books require effort and planning to bring out – the writing of them is often the easiest part or the most pleasurable part. After that comes the long business of editing, selecting, preparation. Most of this one, apart from the last chapter, was written two decades ago, on planes, in cafés, in people's gardens or apartments, and in hotel rooms, when I was on tour with John Renbourn. I called it Every Shade of Blue because blue was John's favourite colour.
|Collage - John in (top) Reims, France, & Colosseum, Rome, (bottom) Bilbao, Spain, & Foix, France|
I didn't keep a diary of events, of all the towns and cities we visited, all the places we stayed, all the people John played with, all the music they played, and all the people we met. The music was the elixir that turned everything magical but I could not write about the music itself. I think that I often wrote from it, from that place the music took me to, mixed with the geographical locations – wading into the Pacific ocean near Santa Barbara, crossing the Bay Bridge from San Francisco, and, in Italy, walking in the narrow red-roofed streets of Perugia, discovering the cobbled back streets of Rome for the first time, and gazing out at the slate-roofed houses of Barge, from the castle perched on a rocky pinnacle above the town.
|Sunrise over Barge, Piemonte, Italy|
Preparation for publication of this book was different from that of other books, because John died earlier this year. A few years ago, John and I had talked about publishing them together, but it didn't come to anything. I guess the time wasn't right. Just recently, a friend said that bringing out this book now was a really good way for me of channelling both the memories and the feelings that necessarily accompany a loss and an absence. These were both incentive and impediment. At first the difficulty lay in the profusion of memories that came up when I worked on the revision and rummaged among the many photographs, to decide what ones to include. I could only do a certain amount at a time. But as it progressed, as I handled the words and the feelings, memories, images, ideas, the physical materials and time, as I deleted and added, spliced, rejected, enhanced and wove all these materials together I began to feel a sense of presence, a subtle companionable energy.
Huge thanks to Jennie Renton at Textualites and Main Point Books for all her work in making it possible.
Copies are available from amazon or from me (morellesmith [at] hotmail.com).