One deadline has come and gone, and at least I met it. Just. Harry Heron; Into the Unknown is another step closer to publication, now it must go through another edit, then to Beta Readers, and once their comments and criticisms have been addressed, it will be ready to go. Kura Carpenter has produced the cover design, and that process can be finalised once we have the final page count. It's been a busy month one way or another, first with rewrites and new scene writing, second with a few 'non-writing' projects and dealing with the day to day things at home. Sometimes the day just runs out of hours before I run out of jobs, but at least it's all positive.
It's been quite a ride these last few months from another perspective. The world is, I think, a poorer place now Sir Terry Pratchett is gone, but just in the last month, we've also lost David Bowie and Alan Rickman among several others. When people born the same year as yourself start departing this life it makes one very conscious of your own mortality. I find myself reminded of the words of John Donne, poet, theologian and Dean of St Paul's Cathedral in the 1640s. He wrote; 'Send not to ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.' The 'meditation' from which that comes, actually a 'homily' or short sermon, makes very interesting reading, pointing out that we are all, at some level, interconnected. Part of a greater whole than just ourselves or our immediate circles. It is from this text that the famous saying 'For whom the bell tolls' comes, and that arises from the practice, still kept in some places, of tolling a bell when there is a death in the Parish.
Tolling the bell is an ancient practice, and, in England, it was the practice to toll the 'Tenor' bell to a set pattern known as the Nine Tailors. First the bell is struck or 'tolled' nine times for a man, seven for a woman. There is then a pause, and the bell tolls out the number of years of the person's age. In the pre-industrial age anyone hearing the bell tolling would be able to work out who of his or her neighbours had died. For those who have never heard a bell 'tolled' it is a different pace to a ringing of the bell, with each stroke searated by a longer interval than is usual when the bell is rung to announce a service.
I shall hope that it will be a while before anyone 'tolls' for me!