Showing posts with label A Little Bit of Irish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label A Little Bit of Irish. Show all posts

Friday, March 28, 2014

Genealogical pilgrimages

My highfalutin title simply designates touristic travel excursions motivated by family-history interests. So, a good example of a genea-pilgrimage (as I shall call them) was the recent visit of my niece Indiya to places in northern London, described in my blog post entitled Looking back on a London century [display]. And I hope I’m not being pretentious in imagining that the publication of my two family-history books, A Little Bit of Irish and They Sought the Last of Lands, might end up increasing the popularity of genea-pilgrimages in the context of my family and relatives.

Obviously, since neither of my books has been written in the spirit of a tourist guide, the steps involved in moving from the books to down-to-earth excursion plans would necessitate some work. Well, I’ve been thinking that maybe I have the personal responsibility of facilitating this work in one way or another. After all, I’ve had a minimum of experience in the domain of tourist guidebooks, through my Great Britain Today [Jeune Afrique, Paris, 1978].


Let’s refer to such an excursion plan as a Genea-Pilgrimage Guide (GPG). Maybe I’ll place such GPGs in the webspaces that have housed, up until now, the PDF files of the chapters of my family-history books.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

On the far side of the cover

This is my final cover design for the family history of my mother’s people in Australia, which is about to be published by Gamone Press in the form of a 266-page hard-cover book in Royal Octavo format (15.6 cm wide and 23.4 cm high) with a laminated cover:

Click to enlarge

Readers with an idea of all that is involved in book publishing will be aware that, behind such a simple layout, there are many technical and editorial issues. Then there’s the question, on the back cover, of how a 73-year-old author of a family-history book might refer to himself. As you can see, for the circumstances, I’ve become Waterview “Billy”.

Does such a personage still exist today… or is the present-day old-timer (and blogger) at Gamone named William Skyvington a totally different individual? That’s an interesting and indeed profound philosophical question. To my mind, “Billy” still exists… but in a ferociously new-born fashion, where almost all the Jacarandas and bendy bridges behind him have been burnt.

A single marvelous tree remains. In fact, a frail sapling. A mythical female phantom. I shall refer to her forever, simply (in any case, I never knew her name), as the girl in the fawn dress. Once upon a time, I caught a glimpse of her as I was waiting for the school bus in South Grafton. She was an angel. Unbelievably beautiful, but ethereal and untouchable, beyond the bounds of my contacts. She was a Catholic kid: a pupil of the school run by the nuns of South Grafton. In my mind, there has always been a photographic image of the house where she lived. It was the humble abode of Mary. It was unthinkable, of course, that I might ever dare to knock on that door. Meanwhile, I have spent my life searching for her. The girl in the fawn dress...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Cover for my book on maternal genealogy

Up until now, I’ve been using the following cover for the typescript of my book on maternal genealogy, soon to be published by Gamone Press.


I’ve always been aware that this dull cover (based upon a Xmas card sent to me, 33 years ago, by an Australian uncle) was a temporary thing, and that it would need to be replaced, sooner or later, by a more attractive design. This morning, I created a couple of possible models for the cover, making use of Australian images that I can purchase (for some 50 euros) in high-resolution format (300 dots per inch).

Click to enlarge

In both cases, I’ve used the metaphor of a rural road, symbolizing, as it were, the paths of my pioneering ancestors in Braidwood and the Clarence River region. An observer can no doubt guess that "my mother's people" came from Ireland, but we cannot know, of course, what lies ahead, beyond the crest of the hill. A little bit of greenness by the roadside reinforces the title (without seeking to “explain” it, since there are several subtle reasons for my choice of this title).

You might say that the left-hand maquette is classical, whereas the right-hand maquette is more “modern”. I would appreciate any reactions to these models.

FIRST REACTION: Each new blog post that I publish gives rise automatically to a Twitter message from my @Skyvington account. And that's how I received my first reaction, from a friendly Canadian woman, Diane Rogers, whom I thank greatly.


SECOND REACTION: And here's another Twitter vote in favor of the right-hand model, from a Skeffington lady in Scotland. I thank her very much.


VARIATIONS: It's not all that easy to submit variations that might respect the suggestions of critics. Here, for example, is a version of the right-hand cover with a totally different typography:


The title—A Little Bit of Irish—is certainly highlighted here, and the readability of the cover text is surely maximal, but I have the impression that the heavy typography is being shoved down our throats. I prefer the lightweight style of the initial version with its intriguing font. To be honest, though, I simply don't know how artistically-gifted critics (that's not my case) end up evaluating questions of this kind. So, please, help !