Monday, July 27, 2009

“ To write what is worth publishing, to find honest people to publish it, and get sensible people to read it, are the three great difficulties in being an author.” Charles Caleb Colton

(1780 – 1832: English cleric, writer and collector, apparently well known for his eccentricities.) Which is an over-elaborate introduction to tell you that I’m (we are) published again, hooray! Rush down to your local news stand and purchase the current (No. 61, Autumn 2009) edition of Permaculture Magazine, where, nestled in amongst other excellent articles on such topics as sustainable beekeeping, converting to pedal power, reading the landscape and how to make a shaving horse (that’s a green woodworking tool and nothing to do with beardless horses, before you ask) is our article, entitled “Les Porcs in Permaculture”.

Whenever I write, I always ask Gabrielle to read it through and say what she thinks. It’s an interesting process as the more one reads and re-reads something just written, the more blind one becomes and my writing is always improved by Gabrielle’s editorial ministrations. It’s fair to say though, that after her extensive and beyond-the-call-of-duty input to “my” permaculture pig article, it was only fair to submit it under both our names, so great had her contribution been. Many factual books are jointly written but I wonder whether a novel has ever been published under two names?

Still talking of writing, and of pork and pigs, I contribute, once-a-month, to an American blog called Not Dabbling in Normal and this month’s contribution, entitled Tout est bon dans le cochon is about carcass balance: helping the British pork farmer out by using French traditional cooking. To briefly explain, British welfare standards are higher (i.e., better for the pigs and more expensive for the farmer) than those in mainland Europe but their pork is sold in the same market, making it hard on the British pork farmer. It seems, in England, that consumers are only interested in the loin and the back legs; the rest gets exported to Europe, with little profit to the farmer, i.e., poor carcass balance. The answer is to eat all of the pig raised with higher welfare standards, thereby maximising the farmer’s profit and encouraging that way of farming and treating animals. In making use of every morsel—for devising devilishly cunning ways of transforming every bit of a pig into delicious recipes—the French are, of course, the renowned experts. To read more, click on the link above.

An email popped into my Inbox the other day, announcing that I’d got a “pingback” (my first) from that American blog. One of the vagaries of writing in the 21st century, it tells me that someone has linked to my story. Godfrey Family Farms, in Marysville, California, have read my blog, agreed with the sentiments and then linked to it in their own blog on pig farms and pork for dinner, which is worth reading. Seeing this sort of connection from the other side of the world makes the blog worth writing.

The photo shows Alice, one of our younger neighbours, getting to know our recently arrived pair of Berkshire weaners.


DOT said...

Congratulations on the article.

Talking of pork farming, have you read Annie Proulx's That Old Ace in the Hole? It started life as an investigation into the life of the itinerant watermill maintenance men who travel the length and breadth of Texas, but so elusive were they she never met one, so Annie wrote of the industrialisation of the pig industry in that state. I haven't read it myself and would be interested to hear from someone who has.

By the way, I love andouilles - so piggy you can taste the oink.

Sarah Head said...

Congratulations on the article. You asked about two authors for novels. David Eddings finally included his wife in his novel attributions after she had made considerable contributions to his books. Another husband and wife team are Janny Kurtz and Raymond Feist. Emma Restell Orr has recently published an Arthurian novel written with a partner across the pond by internet. I have another authurian novel published, The Strongest Magick, which was written with a friend (I'm in England, she's in Oregon). We role played the story online and then I wrote it up and she edited. All things are possible with modern technology!

Val Grainger said...

Well done....have read it and so have all visitors here! I have one coming up in a later edition!!!
Enjoy the favourite porkers and the best tasting! Kill them out at 65kg and they will be perfect!........they do not do bacon well as after pork weight put too much fat in wrong places but cannot be surpassed for pork....yum!

Sorry we didn't get to see you.....too many late nights, a leaking roof involving too many ladders and galeforce winds and something we had eaten took its toll!

Stuart and Gabrielle said...

Thank you David, Sarah and Val for your comments, which I always appreciate. I haven't read That Old Ace in the Hole but have just ordered it as I need some fictional reading material to go with the pile of "how to" stuff that litters my bedside table. I'll report back on that one.

Sarah, as a mature student, I did a degree in English Literature (with Development Studies) at Sussex University, where I met David (even more mature than I!) author of the comment above. You can understand why I enjoyed your erudite and detailed answer to the shared-authorship question.

I look forward to seeing you in print, Val.