Sea Sores as a concept was hanging around my neck for a long time. The idea originated as a book written by the wind, a tale of it’s presence through place and season in the English seaside town of Brighton. It evolved into a more human collection, biographical in nature and as much a sketch of myself, as an abstract depiction of my birthplace.
The first print in 2018, was some two hundred and fifty pages. I then worked with an editor – Chloe Murphy – who selected her favourite pieces and suggested cutting some dead wood, while rewriting others.
By pre-pandemic 2020 I had the reworked draft ready; some hundred and twenty pages. During the lockdown in continental Europe, I set about completing the pet project with a date of early summer penciled in to launch Sea Sores.
June 2020 the collection was ready and I released the book as I departed southern France for southern Spain. This period has been a very busy time for me but releasing the book and its unexpectedly positive reception has made the effort more than worth while.
To my great surprise it reached number one new release in the Irish and British literature category in the states and later in 2020 it was selected for a radio production in London. It’s also now on Audible and iTunes as an audio book, plus available in Barns and Noble in North America, along side a number of Independent bookstores. The unassuming little book’s progress this past eight months has surpassed what I could have hoped.
The Dogged Dream – A long winded impetus for the publication.
I say (without any false modesty) Sea Sores is not a work of significant standing, but I feel it was worthy of writing. At the very least, it is a momentary sketch of myself. A merging of anonymous youth, universal place, and the dogged dream.
It’s the equivalent of initials roughly cut into a monument or entrance way. In England it’s fairly common to find this arcane graffiti around led lined windows or upon some ancient stone work of a church transept. Upon finding one I’m left thinking; however long and eventful the individual’s life, however deeply they held love and faith in their heart, that one scratch beside some place they passed centuries ago became their lasting imprint upon the world.
Sea Sores in my imagination is that to me, of little relevance, but recording something of my moments in this present, the days which will pass over to hope and hardships of future lives. It is an – N J W – initialled on a passing place.
Let’s say we stride along a muddy shore, where dreams come and go unnoted. Our footsteps soon washed away by the following tide, and after, being the newly even earth, awaiting others to make their mark. Them thinking – as did we – to be the first to feel the earth between their toes, or take that course of questioning at the waters edge.
It is the way of life, that our efforts are to be undone eventually. But — human hope keeps going, dreams effecting desire and destination.
Art introduces all the generations that have lived and all that will speak the names of cities we know in a time we don’t. It is natural that we should place our moments as the most important but art shakes us into admitting our part is small and has been experienced countless times before.
“Art is the poison once sucked out of the wound, a venom of carved stone, oil paint, dance, song, and sentence.”
Although there are many whom make a greater difference – the hard headed and practical people on which the world is built, they who tend the dying and build the schools – art, is to give some semblance of longevity to what is almost comically fleeting.
It appears from where I look that we all (to some degree) are born into chaos, art – in it’s varied forms – is not the struggle against unpredictability, but the endeavour to capture the chaos, without ‘it’ ever knowing of its capture. Setting down a record of the beauty within the falling and the collision of vision against reality.
However tightly we bind the future in mortgage and pension plans we know it can break free at any second. It’s perception of stillness and order an act of charity on its part. The generations live on the inhaling of it’s breath, occasionally we all must be on the exhale, on the sound and the sudden song.
If art is anything, maybe it is that brief equilibrium between inward and outward. We know it when we see it, read it, hear it and ‘it’ feels magically aware.
Great art Sea Sores is not, but I am a fan of the unfashionable, the passions without purpose, those who mark their place in life through pursuits which lift their heart yet not their ego or bank balance. I guess Sea Sores is my contribution to that act, in that way. A nod of the cap to those who have placed their pebble onto greater artistic summits
I am thankful that it has found a home in many a good household. I’m proud of its journey and as this video shows grateful to those who have supported it.
To get a copy of Sea Sores please check out the link.