Tag Archives: Publishing

A FAN AND YOUNG PUBLISHER BRINGS OUT SCREAM OF THE WHITE BEAR

Well, people have enquired many times here, and it has taken eight or more years, but a fan here, supporter, young author himself and online US publisher, Jonathan Thurston, will publish SCREAM OF THE WHITE BEAR by David Clement-Davies, in 2018. Actually it is to be entitled CRY OF THE WHITE BEAR, in the spirit of a new adventure, and leaving behind the really terrible battle that was fought over it and other principals of art, law, truth and decency, with the major New York publisher Harry N. Abrams.  Which, because so much is about money over principle in the world today, has sky-rocketed to success with Young Adult books like A Diary Of A Wimpy Kind, that has sold over 180 Million copies.  The real story of its delay is probably as powerful as the book, but although David is sceptical about so much about the Internet world, or indeed how you really publish without the powers that be, or how much people are truly reading and connecting now, it is entirely appropriate that a young man of talent and passion like Jonathan tries to bring it to the world, with a quiet apology from the author for having disappointed his fans and readers for too long.

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FACEBOOK STRATEGY MEETINGS, GOODREADS AND KICKSTARTING A DRAGON ADVENTURE!

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Only five days in and the little Dragon is flying at 27%. Good meeting yesterday too, many thanks to all who came, although many apologies if I failed to keep the right Facebook page open! It’s the same syndrome of getting a block for ‘friend’ invites, in trying to navigate Social Media at all and break back out. Bit of a dragon or dinosaur here. Therefore an open apology to Facebook people if I have irritated you. I’m sorry.

Especially younger fans and a brilliant ‘Street Team’ were right in saying several things yesterday though. Firstly I can’t lean on them too much and must lead the way myself, (being Top Author and David Clement-Davies (!)) which first and foremost means appealing to my fans and those who know my stories, because why else would people be interested or back Dragon In The Post? Of course there’s a wider ambition in Kickstarting Phoenix Ark Press too, several projects, even cross supporting Kickstarter projects with other authors, artists and illustrators and the idea of ‘Paying it Forward’ as well. I hope the Dragon Street Team will remember that, in talking about work for younger and older, but I doubt that is what appeals first and the first goal is to hatch a Dragon In The Post, and get it out to you, in the post.

The absolute key is the passion of friends and fans then, thus love of books and stories, so also finding the right forum for it all. So despite the outreach, that isn’t necessarily Facebook at all, but Goodreads. (Thank you Kelly and SJand S for that inspiring comment yesterday up at Kickstarter). But at Goodreads I’m working on my page and also just beginning to upload books that I loved and love. I’ve also created a new group there PHOENIX ARK PRESS AND KICKSTARTING GRASS ROOTS PUBLISHING and am starting to send out invites. Poor you. Do come and talk my and your favourite books though, publishing ideas, the Dragon project, whatever you like! I have put some Rules up too. One day I will get the hang of all this and change back, like the Beast in Beauty, I hope, from ruthless or sad Social Media self-promoter, to someone who can share many ideas, adventures and stories. What I want to do is find the space to write. So “Join the story, become part of the adventure” and you can do it more actively too by watching a film, and bumping that target before 26 days elapse by GOING TO DRAGON IN THE POST

Thank you.

DCD – PA PRESS

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KICKSTARTER, DRAGON IN THE POST AND TOPPING YOURSELF ON CAMERA!

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DRAGON IN THE POST

A great and brave start, but the truth of kickstarter and reaching targets, only when any money is drawn down, is much harder while if Dragon In The Post doesn’t build momentum right now, it could easily fail. We are at 26%, which ironically may put people off supporting itself. That would be completely wrong though, not least because the ambition is to go beyond the 6k, open a door on a whole publishing project and bring out Light of The White Bear, Looking For Edmund Shakespeare and many projects together.

Also the received wisdom is ‘no talk of the past‘, a professional video that stays up for the duration and so on. Yet the statistics show that only 73 have watched the video for Dragon In The Post so far, and those that do love it, although the average views only reach 30% of the entire film. As opposed to over 700 that viewed the very personal talks on the Light of The White Bear project, with an average of 50% watched! Is that because people really like the pain of the personal, a sad publishing and private story, and to the shame of those following this publishing blog?! THAT’S YOU! Is it better to weep, top yourself or set fire to the room, than to just engage in the passionate and professional? I hope not, and never surrender, while there is still plenty of time to turn everything around and work some magic. Momentum is vital though.

Be good Phoenix supporters then, come back as backers of Light of The White Bear and both spread the word and BACK THIS PROJECT by CLICKING HERE

Thank you.

PA PRESS

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JUST A DAY IN, ALREADY 24% FUNDED AND DRAGON IN THE POST MAKES IT ONTO THE POPULAR PAGES AT KICKSTARTER

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A round of applause for the first day’s outing at Kickstarter and a thank you for all your support too. Dragon In The Post has already reached the ‘popular’ pages at Kickstarter, as you can see at https://www.kickstarter.com/discover/popular?ref=popular

You will have to scroll down though, since there are many projects jostling for attention, recognition and support. The hard truth then is the need for powerful momentum and pushing up the target immediately, also to open a doorway on many projects. I can only do that if the support comes now. Is it only about success breeding success, people wanting to be part of something? Who knows, but I hope you will see it is all done from the heart and I am trying to talk through the noise of the net. Perhaps we can all learn from the experience.

The project URL itself is https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1159695087/dragon-in-the-post

Likes are great, spreading the word better but if people don’t put their support where their mouth is, by pressing that little green button and encouraging others to as well, then a grass roots publisher is just a dream. Please kindly the little dragon’s fire then and ‘Join the story, become part of the adventure.

DCDx

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KICKSTARTER AND AUTHORS FIGHTING BACK? – THE PHOENIX ARK CULTURAL ESSAY

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THE LESSONS OF CROWD FUNDING AND FIGHTING THROUGH THE NOISE OF THE INTERNET

Any value to this article comes out of direct experience of trying to fund a book project on Kickstarter for Light of The White Bear but also echoing the battle being fought in the US now and across the world against Digitisation and the likes of Google effectively stealing work and putting it up for free. It is of course a changed landscape since the arrival of the web, that has altered so much socially and commercially and been a particular threat not just to writers but artists of all kinds, from musicians to photographers and visual artists too. The problem is we all seem to be implicated in that ‘culture for free‘ mentality, the white noise of the Internet too. Which is why I was so shocked at one acquaintance delighting in the ease and accessibility of his Kindle, which on the positive side had increased his own reading, yet being so casual about having downloaded 4,000 books for free. Perhaps you don’t wake up to a thing until you are directly effected yourself, like all those anti Piracy campaigns in Cinemas, back with the dinosaurs, but it is a very serious challenge to any kind of real culture, surely always something shared, and to the individual artist too. It echoes doubts about whether Facebook and the rest really connect us at a deeply human level, or more often give us a chance to put up only a mirror to the most successful or prettiest versions of ourselves, while we hide other truths in the shadows. So can you get over that 15 minutes of fame or Marshall McLuhan “medium is the message” truth and actually use the thing itself to change the medium?

Firstly there is the problem of writers and artists simply surviving, which in fact was always a very tough business. Do artists really have any more right than any one else though? I suppose that might depend on the artist, or whether you think poets are, as Shelley said, ‘the unacknowledged legislators of the world‘. Or if it is troubling that the likes of Van Gogh spent his life on the edge of poverty, wonder and madness, broken by the system, only to find his work one day worth tens of millions and hanging on the walls of slick Merchant banks. History and especially the history of the art market is too full of such ironies to dwell on it too long. Less than 5% of authors reach any kind of position where they can really live off their work alone, yet even back in the 16th Century, when the very idea of authorial copyright began to emerge with the new printing technology, booksellers, poets and writers made their way with kinds of private patronage, a bit like Kickstarter. One was a Southwark boatman called John Taylor, the self styled ‘water poet‘, whose verse is pretty much doggerel, rowing the river Thames in the wake of the likes of Kit Marlowe and Will Shakespeare, on Bankside. But who raised shillings and pence to take his work into print and at least it is one of the great historical sources. He also spent too much time, in the highly personal and often bitchy world of ‘letters’, pursuing those who promised backing and never coughed up! Shakespeare found his real and powerful patrons and his playhouse at The Globe and was wise enough to stay behind the scenes and stay true to his genius. Although Shakespeare certainly had a head for money and business. The fact is nowadays though, with super Capitalism and such vast and increasing inequality, the very idea of the patron is pretty much frowned on, so what steps into the breach, dear friends?

The only equivalent of that Printing Press revolution though, that so engaged in the battles of the Reformation too, is right now, over four hundred years later, with the arrival of the Internet, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Kickstarter and the rest. Such a challenge to Governments with the likes of Wiki leaks and to tyrannies too, in examples in the Middle East. Perhaps it is reassuring that time goes back and fourth but how do you balance that laudable desire to give the world something for free, in those racing to put up the code of the Human genome before big business, especially in America, could exercise its ‘right’ to make money and patent, or Dr Salk, who gave out the Polio vaccine and said you had no more right to patent it than patent sunlight, with a writer’s desire both to find readers and to make a living too? Or indeed a painter’s, an actor’s or a singer’s? Just to note that my novel Firebringer, that has reviews that might make it one of those ‘Penguin classics’ is now out of hard copy print in the UK. I think partly because I refused to play the game, took back my e-book rights for all my novels, but partly because in the shifting sands of editors seeking promotion, leaving publishing houses, very few seem to stand up for anything nowadays.

So to Kickstarter, which here was partly a positive and partly negative exercise. Negative because it was an exhausting month and failed to hit the target of £6,000 to publish Light of The White Bear properly. It is not a large target, for someone who commented it is so easy to ‘self publish‘ these days or raised an eyebrow that any author should be so arrogant as to actually draw some funds to live on while editing! Perhaps instinct and experience rail against that because art is one removed from business, in the sense of trying to quantify what spirit or vision are actually ‘worth’. As to ‘self publishing’ it was done under the label of Phoenix Ark Press and it is not at all easy to ‘self publish’. The vast majority of ebooks or POD books disappear without a trace, leaving the litter out there on the internet too and if many are satisfied with finding a readership of say a hundred, good for them indeed, but for people used to being well published and having a powerful voice it can be soul destroying. Perhaps that’s something about ambition too, because every book or work of art has to earn its own readers. It is why Phoenix Ark attempted to build a community though, to be an unusual publisher, which is something that actually wrestles with the real work of writing and storytelling.

The positive came most strongly from younger readers, which is perhaps about something else entirely, namely remembering again that the most essential connection is writer to reader. Then the spirit of some people, often complete strangers, that stands in such contrast to those who once called themselves friends, or indeed have a great deal of money. I was simply amazed how people with very little could be so much more generous than those with far more, in fact and in spirit, but perhaps that is a life lesson about the salt of the earth, or how the years shut you off. It is never exactly fun not achieving a thing and yet, to be fair, I asked that question myself, namely if one ‘patron’ had come in to raise the 35% hit to 100% in the 11th hour, was that what I was really looking for? I wouldn’t have looked a gift horse in the mouth, I think, and it would not have let down fans either, but the real answer is no. What I am looking for is both practical backing, money, but real spirit too, energy, communication and essentially achieving something unique by reaching and I hope inspiring many people. Because that will itself ensure some kind of immediate readership again, as well as making one project happen, but perhaps kindling some kind of fire and passion out there too.

That is why when a new project launches next week, Dragon in The Post, on both St George’s Day and Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23rd, a film also appeals once again to the idea of building a grass roots publisher, in one sense ‘your publisher‘, to try and break through those disconnected boxes, that I think the internet has so much created everywhere. We think we are communicating with ‘the world‘, when very often we aren’t at all, we are talking sadly to ourselves. Which is precisely why Platforms are the new battle ground, commanding them, and why I found it so depressing when I first started exploring publishing that an Amazon executive could write to me gloating over the fact that Amazon, where I do publish ebooks, had just pushed the US bookstore chain Borders into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Capitalism may or may not be better than many systems, but if it is one that only ‘takes no prisoners‘ in the race for money, we will all end up by being impoverished. Just as one new backer commented yesterday that it is a new kind of fascism if we are controlled by cynical and soulless executives, just interested in their pay cheques and jobs, and artists are not paid. It is about more than being paid though, it is about really being heard!

If it works, both as a project and a wider ‘business’ model, it is about attempting to call to writers, artists and illustrators too and give back to them as well, either supporting their Kickstarting or bringing them in, and I hope I can stay true to the spirit in which it was founded! It has failed so far in any grandiose sense, yet has I think built something of quality and with a voice. Is it possible though, or are the always skeptical voices right to scoff or hide in the wings and say for instance that Kickstarter is ‘yesterday’s news‘. It shows how surface we can be, how fad driven, but if Kickstarter raised a billion in pledges by the start of this year, or even The Globe theatre has now turned to Kickstarter to fund their traveling Hamlet, in every country in the world, it is not yesterday’s news, it is in fact the growing pattern of funding and involvement for the future and certainly not just in the world of artists or writers. The Globe project is unique in that a major institution is turning to Kickstarter, with a rather fine film of traveling players singing ‘a begging we will go‘ but then Phoenix Ark Press has long been begging to be heard over quite unique work on Edmund Shakespeare, Bankside and Southwark and also approached the Globe about it, much to find the usual institutional response. Then the sadness of it is reflected in a friend emailing a link to a new book rising high in the Huffington Post charts on the top ten things you never knew about Shakespeare, starting with the fact that he even had a brother called Edmund. I was never approached about it and you cannot sue for copyright infringement on fact, but I seriously wonder where it came from. We’ll see, because in fact there are several mistakes here which need to be corrected, simply for the purpose of real scholarship. I have always noted that my first knowledge of where Edmund was staying in 1607 actually came from Professor Allan Nelson at Berkeley and a talk about the Token Books at Southwark Cathedral and to his students at The Globe.

Kickstarter though, beyond the gloss of success stories like Neil Young hitting his target and far more in a day, and good for him, is just a well designed and supported website. Just as a Kindle or Nook are really nothing more remarkable than screens, as we start to see the content again, beyond the snazzy, over important technology. A very good model too, because it does not allow you to draw any funds unless the whole target is reached and so energy and quality to leach away. But nor does it block the idea of trying again and so potentially growing and growing that fan and backer base. Which is why it was so positive to get such useful feed back and the spirit that said ‘try again‘, to create I hope a kind of fellowship, that could make many journeys either on Kickstarter, at Phoenix Ark press or elsewhere. Although having tried for five years alone with Phoenix in a hugely personal and painful publishing battle too and having lost almost everything doing so, except a pen and a piece of paper (well, a keyboard!), there are only so many times you can try the same thing without being labelled sad or nuts.

Kickstarter is different though, because it gives specific project targets, that you should have in any business anyway, but allowing a medium to try and kickstart something much bigger and more visionary. Although what that is really about is the people involved, both me and you, and the integrity of the work we can or can’t produce together. I hope you will see that, when you see the new project up on line, which has also been designed specifically drawing on the talent and creations of fans. There are over 130 dedicated followers at Phoenix, who see articles published instantly, but many, many more visitors, so do come and visit. But consider doing more than ‘Liking‘, nice as that is. I have over 400 followers at Goodreads too and now over 500 friends on Facebook, though I must go through that and define what I actually mean by friendship. I will never pay, for instance, like David Cameron or cynical business, for ‘likes‘, as I keep getting emails encouraging me to, with the temptation of somehow suddenly going ‘viral’. Just as I resisted allowing WordPress to jump my site with their own advertising.

This project I hope shares a fire about one book, but many possibilities and ideas, about the chance of a future, and also returns to that idea of people who back it becoming Friends of Phoenix Ark press, with rewards, news and discounts too here. But I hope it’s a journey, an adventure, that can bring many real things, not just digitalised words, made out of HTML number coding, crackling pointlessly through the electric ether.

David Clement-Davies April 2014

The picture is a public domain Wikepedia image of the original Globe by Hollar, although the whole map of Bankside needs to reassessed and can be with work about Edmund Shakespeare, The Vine tavern and it’s links to St Margaret’s Church and The Brotherhood of Our Lady of Assumption. That work Phoenix Ark certainly retains moral copyright in.

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THE LAST WEEK OF KICKSTARTER AND IT AIN’T OVER TILL THE FAT LADY SINGS!

It was what a fan and backer in the UK said, about that singing lady, and yesterday’s April Fool about the UN was meant as part of some fun, though it would hardly hurt! But spurred by readers, rather than giving up, a last talk and film goes up about a Kickstarter project on the newly named Light of the White Bear.

I just won’t be silenced on what happened in New York and London, among ‘friends’ and colleagues, but it is a story that needs pushing into the background, so only appears in the second part of a film. If Abrams, which still publishes Fell, for those who talk of ‘the past’, wants to challenge on libel, I have also said I would prove it, but this is hopefully about the future now. There is also a free e-edition of Fell alone, available till Monday April 7th from Amazon.com

Likes are fantastic but it really needs your active support now and you can see a talk that raises the bar of ambition by CLICKING HERE

A warm thank you both to Backers and to readers at Phoenix too.

PA PRESS

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ABRAMS AND TERRORISM

Isn’t interesting that in such dark times, (since the Twin Towers came down, perhaps,) my own editor and now Abrams Vice President, Sarah van More, could not defend a series of children’s books, starting with the novel coming this week, The Terror Time Spies, that were designed to help kids deal with a climate of fear?

The actual value of a story was irrelevant, in their ‘defence’ of editorial power, that wrecked a career and removed a publisher too. I argued, as I had with a partner and ‘so-called’ friend, that a lot of it was about American consciousness these days, projecting fear, but also massive arrogance, and a quality of selfishness and lack of depth too, that some have called Ego Consciousness. ‘Our rights’, but no-one else’s, and engaging the full weight and threat of a system. That projection is understandable in a climate of world terror and conflict, wherever it comes from, but not for a second in a world of children’s and Young Adult books.

Perhaps my anger was actually frightening, at times, but when a publisher is trying to publish a novel with ‘no contact with the author’, actually to mask the legal dispute that had developed, you really are in the realms of Kafka, or just plain tyranny and cruelty. In this case a business tyranny as bad as any other. Tara Break’s projected life fears were enormous, perhaps out of the darkness in her own strange family, and a terror of standing up too. But when a CEO, Mike Jacobson, threatens an author, fighting for their career out of so many personal betrayals, and on their own in London, with ‘issuing attorney’s notices in New York and London’, but also suggests that I had ‘some other motive’, as if I was some terrorist, then something very odd is going on. At one point I joked that that New York madness would involve delivering a literary manuscript in an armoured car!

The abuse of power was later reflected by instructing an entire department not to read a blog, as a publisher denied dialogue on books already there. The whole thing, for a year of trying to work, was because Tara Break would not put away an accusation that was a complete distortion of the events that led up to her changing a number, and the reasons for them. That jaunt through the fields of publishing, writing, true love or friendship cost me everything, and her publisher Howard Reeves his job too, but then she was hand in glove with my editor, Sarah Van More. Who, in her own collapsing life relationships, not only chose to ‘defend’ Tara Break, but invade her own author, breach his trusts to another publisher, Sharyn Novembre at Penguin, and apply no decent or equitable principle, in her scramble for power. The question remains of who the mystery man was, in the mix, who never had the guts to stand up to this supposed bully, and if he actually works at Abrams too.

But the real ‘Terrorism’ was the ferocious and ultimately cynical politics inside Abrams. It was how they both judged and accused without allowing any kind of proper hearing too. How they abused the principles of authorial respect, proper working conditions, emotional safety, freedom of speech, and honest dialogue too, to serve Tara Break’s interests entirely. Why exactly do they publish anything – for the money and their careers alone? In the end I couldn’t take their devil’s pact of silence for success, as they disrespected all their contracts too, so I walked away. Let’s hope, in taking so much poison out, and now publishing one of those three novels too, we can sweep away the awfulness and rebuild.

But if an American CEO can try to lie about the real issues to the US Author’s Guild as well, and promote Sarah Van More over Harold Roves, then under his leadership Abrams are a publisher that cares about nothing, and America will make its world reputation worse and worse. America is a free country, a great democracy, at root, and I once thought Abrams an extremely fine publisher, but If you think it’s an unimportant story because it is ‘only’ about books, or one person’s livelihood, imagine what could happen if innocence or personal freedom were involved? It does happen, in ‘real’ life, and in often frightening America.

DCD

Phoenix Ark Press

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INTRODUCING ‘THE BLOGGING BLOG’

Along with The Edmund Shakespeare Blog, Phoenix Ark Press are now delighted to introduce ‘The Blogging Blog’. It will involve tips about publishing, encouragements and warnings to writers about blogging itself, discussions of any real cultural value, or whether Sir Tim Berners Lee’s Internet, so highlighted at The London Olympics by Danny Boyle, actually connects or disconnects. Hopefully it can be a valuable forum about writing, blogging, journalism and voices on the Net, but that depends crucially on you the reader too, so bloggers experiences and insights are much encouraged. We will give away some of the experiences and thrills and spills of Phoenix Ark’s publishing venture too.

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PHOENIX ARK PRESS AND PUBLISHING AT THE PUSH OF A BUTTON!

In a few days time Phoenix Ark are proud to publish The Terror Time Spies by David Clement-Davies. Based loosely on the exploits of The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy, during the French Revolution, it sends a daring band of youngsters to Paris, to confront Terror everywhere. Though intended as the first in a much lighter, entertaining series, it was the book that Sarah Van More had had for nearly two years at Abrams, and would have taken an absurd four years to publish, since signing a contract, if that battle had not happened. There we are.

In the ‘good ol’ days, its publication would have meant lovely things like proper editorial support and dialogue, proof copies, interviews and author’s copies, arriving in brown cardboard boxes, to grace a private bookshelf. The stuff of real life books, that are things and characters in themselves too, not to mention becoming a record of others’ reading joys and histories. All part of those enormously special and intimate things to any author though, made far more intimate by a two year relationship with an Abrams editor, Tara Break, and by a ten year editorial relationship with her colleague. Which was once a source of joy and pride, made all the more tragic in the weird atmosphere of an American firm, of not even being ‘allowed’ to mention it, as if some crime had been committed. But so Phoenix Ark Press was born, and now, because at present they are only to eBook, publishing means, beyond the work of course – creative, editorial and the wonderful cover too, designed by Seb and Julia – the literal press of a button.

The Internet has revolutionised publishing in a way perhaps only comparable to Shakespeare’s day, over four hundred years ago, viz-viz other work here, the creation of The Stationer’s Register in London, that closed only so recently, developing copyright law itself, and, in a sense, the creation of the very idea of ‘the author’. There are many bad things in it, on the Internet too, but many good, like people who did not read hugely, suddenly saying their Kindles or readers had opened entire worlds, and at least it has kept Phoenix Ark alive as a creative voice. It’s massive downside is Amazon’s proud trumpeting of the fact that Borders has declared bankruptcy and the pumping out of work that perhaps should not see the light of day. Perhaps publishing was always rather ruthless, battles of books deeply personal too, and nothing ensures a work’s surival. Perhaps the only thing that really matters is not how we read, but the quality of the stories we are reading, although physical books will never die and we must be very wary indeed of breaking vital human connections. The Terror Time Spies coming soon.

PA PRESS

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AN AMERICAN SENSE OF HISTORY?

I’m a bit worried that anything I say about the US might be tinged with events in New York three years ago! However, looking into the subject of ‘Spatial Humanities’ recently and a NY Times article on Gettysburg, The Salem Witch Hunts and the modelling of events, temporally and spatially, does remind me of the tours I did in American schools. It worried me that in many schools there History is not taught on its own, but as a ‘Social Science’.

It rather begs the question of what History is ‘for’. I realise that in the UK there has always been a cultural split between the ‘geeky’ scientists and the ‘poetic’ Historians. I actually love science as much as history, and on one level Spatial Humanities is attempting to unite all disciplines, and especially the ‘two languages’ we carry in the world, that I’ve talked about elsewhere. The problem for me is that somehow history must be an art, not a science at all, so be about listening to the mind and sensibilities of historians talking about the past, for no other purpose than deepening the human dialogue and creating cultural depth.

So to teach History instead as Social Science presupposes some kind of ‘Telos’, some unfolding purpose, just as the Marxist Historians argued for, or much like some of the voices that come out of Right Wing America, arguing that the US is the freest and greatest Nation ever, or that we must somehow all stop dead at the 11 O’clock school bell and swear allegiance to the flag. To us that is a kind of cultural brainwashing, and you might speak of the facts that came up last night on a repeat of the Quiz show QI, saying that America locks up one in a hundred of its citizens, on the ‘3 Strikes and You’re Out’ model, more than any Nation on eath, ever. The figures for young blacks in prison now are even more frightening. In one sense though, History, and the study of cultures, should have no obvious purpose at all, but like literature, be a chance to explore greater truths across time, and imaginatively examine, for good and bad, the entire human condition.

Since I clearly can’t resist a bit of New Yorker bashing, the depth of sensibility and awareness I met from my own partner, and then at my own American publisher too, was astoundingly limited. Almost instantly, and from my own editor of ten years, it became about ‘sides’, ‘You’ and ‘Us’, like re-fighting the Alamo when I was supposed to be in partnership with a firm, to create. A very onesided partnership because of all the money they generate elsewhere, and when another very personal partnership had been so harmed along side it. Some people call it ‘Ego Consciousness’, brilliant at arguing for individual ‘rights’, and snap decisions, or being shocked by something out of the mould, but terrible at seeing a bigger and truly human picture, warts and all. Terrible when you find that at the heart of a prominent publisher.

There are many exciting things about Spatial Humanities, which educationally is about the vivid engagement of the student in a world that is increasingly defined by technology, and this place you are looking at, the Cyberverse. Yet there is also the danger of turning all human history into some glorified Computer Game, and we all know the dangers and addictions of that. Actually, anything that takes us further away from the human, so contained in great history and great literature, is fraught with dangers. Keep to the human. DCD

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