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Upwards And Onwards

Hello Gr8worders/Green Roomers

Over the past 2-3 years, I've been labouring away on a book. It's been a struggle. At first it was just a mass of scribbles in a notebook following a memorable trip to south-east Turkey - now officially designated as Türkiye. Then during Covid Times (remember that?) the thought took hold that perhaps, just perhaps there was a book to be had from the 50 pages of handwritten notes I had taken while travelling through a region once known as Northern Mesopotamia. I had also taken nearly 6,000 photos when visiting places such as Antakya (Antioch), Gaziantep, Urfa, Diyarbakir, Dara, Harran, Mardin and Göbeklitepe.

So, I began writing. And writing. And writing. Eventually I had chalked up 65,000 words (chiselled away from an original verbose manuscript of 130,000 words) and what had started out as a description of the journey travelled, morphed into something much more. It became a blend of travelogue, memoir, history, archaeology, poetry, prose, and memorable imagery – evocative of my coming of age in Ireland with an unquenchable desire to travel, ‘to seek and find’ (Whitman).

Some words of credit: I cannot thank my dear wife enough for her starring role as editor of the initial draft I completed and subsequent versions while keeping my nose to the grindstone. Without her gentle but persistent chivvying this book might never have seen the light of day. I am eternally grateful for her positive energy, her endearing smile and her sensitive encouragement when I thought I was losing my way.

Then, the soul-destroying journey of trying to find an agent or a publisher; and even peeping into the world of self-publishing. What an experience that has been. I could write a book about it! But wait ...

But I did have a bona fide book on my hands of my own creation and I yearned to get it published. The title of my book: 'An Irishman In Northern Mesopotamia'. I was tenacious in my search for a publisher but those dispiriting letters of rejection became my regular reading fare. It was a depressing experience where I began to doubt so much about myself. Then, one day, somebody must have liked what they read and I received a 'come on down and talk to us' letter. I couldn't believe it. My wife noted at the time that I appeared to be floating on Cloud 9.

Just before Christmas 2023 Unicorn Publishing Group agreed to publish 'An Irishman In Northern Mesopotamia' in October 2024. After what appeared to be an enormous unwinnable struggle in getting to the publishing finishing line was at last turning into a reality. But my goodness, did I have to work at it. In some ways, the pathway to securing publication is so much more time-consuming and taxing on the spirit than the task of authorship. Writing is a doddle in comparison to all the rest of the shebang in trying to get one's magnum opus into print.

But I have to give full credit to Unicorn Publishing - they have been incredibly supportive the whole way through. I have learnt so much and I cannot thank them enough. 

And lo and behold, the official launch date was arranged: Thursday, 10th October 2024. Venue: Sandfords Bookstore in Covent Garden, London WC2, UK; time: 7.00pm where 'An Irishman In Northern Mesopotamia' will be unleashed on an unsuspecting world! As fellow Gr8worders/Green Roomers, you are warmly invited to attend my book launch if you can make it to the London location on the given day at the given time.

I would like to thank Rosy Cole and everyone at Gr8word/Green Room most sincerely for kindly permitting me to avail of this marvellous website to help publicise my new book. Thank you very much indeed. Imagine, 'An Irishman In Northern Mesopotamia', my first book published and I a mere whippersnapper of 69 - still waiting to grow up! Whatever next?

Please see attached https://www.amazon.co.uk/Irishman-Northern-Mesopotamia-South-East-Perspective/dp/1916846289

Onwards and upwards.

Best wishes to everyone in the Gr8word/Green Room family.

Slán agus beannacht,

Nicholas Mackey

Comments 5

 
Rosy Cole on Tuesday, 21 May 2024 19:15

Good to hear from you, Nicholas, and many congratulations on the book deal! I bet you can't wait for October :-) What fascinating adventures you've had! Travel always snags the imagination and extends inner horizons. You've covered the landscape of the Early Christian Church, for one thing. Interesting to hear how you developed the travelogue by combining it with other themes. As a skilled photographer, I guess many of those pics will be appear in the book.

We wish you all success and thank you for your kind invitation. I'm afraid that since the pandemic, the GR 'family' is thin on the ground. Blogging itself is not as popular as it used to be and there are many reasons for that, not least the use of contentious social media outlets which are essential for drawing readers.

Good to hear from you, Nicholas, and many congratulations on the book deal! I bet you can't wait for October :-) What fascinating adventures you've had! Travel always snags the imagination and extends inner horizons. You've covered the landscape of the Early Christian Church, for one thing. Interesting to hear how you developed the travelogue by combining it with other themes. As a skilled photographer, I guess many of those pics will be appear in the book. We wish you all success and thank you for your kind invitation. I'm afraid that since the pandemic, the GR 'family' is thin on the ground. Blogging itself is not as popular as it used to be and there are many reasons for that, not least the use of contentious social media outlets which are essential for drawing readers.
Nicholas Mackey on Friday, 24 May 2024 12:30

Thank you for your kind words, Rosy.

You hit the nail on the head when you say, 'Travel always snags the imagination and extends inner horizons', as that is exactly what happened on this occasion. It became an adventure that transcended all boundaries where time, place, memories, ideas, experiences, conversations and more all coalesced easily thus propelling me into a new and exciting landscape of creativity. I discovered a 'new zone of writing' and it's been a thrill mining this newly-found reservoir of things to say.
After all these years where travelling is concerned, I now find myself in full agreement with the quote above from you, Rosy and the Moroccan Berber scholar and explorer, Ibn Battuta when he said: 'Travelling - it leaves you speechless and then turns you into a storyteller.'

I am also eternally grateful for continued good health and the long-standing relationships from loved ones close by.

I appreciate that Green Room takes kindly to wayward contributors like myself and thank you again for permitting me to discuss my forthcoming book.

Thank you for your kind words, Rosy. You hit the nail on the head when you say, 'Travel always snags the imagination and extends inner horizons', as that is exactly what happened on this occasion. It became an adventure that transcended all boundaries where time, place, memories, ideas, experiences, conversations and more all coalesced easily thus propelling me into a new and exciting landscape of creativity. I discovered a 'new zone of writing' and it's been a thrill mining this newly-found reservoir of things to say. After all these years where travelling is concerned, I now find myself in full agreement with the quote above from you, Rosy and the Moroccan Berber scholar and explorer, Ibn Battuta when he said: 'Travelling - it leaves you speechless and then turns you into a storyteller.' I am also eternally grateful for continued good health and the long-standing relationships from loved ones close by. I appreciate that Green Room takes kindly to wayward contributors like myself and thank you again for permitting me to discuss my forthcoming book.
Rosy Cole on Saturday, 01 June 2024 11:41

Fiction is fraught with all kinds of pitfalls. It's not uncommon for writers to flourish when they have lines to run on :-) So glad you have found your niche!

Fiction is fraught with all kinds of pitfalls. It's not uncommon for writers to flourish when they have lines to run on :-) So glad you have found your niche!
Stephen Evans on Tuesday, 21 May 2024 21:02

Congratulations! - the book looks beautiful. wishing you much success!

Congratulations! - the book looks beautiful. wishing you much success!
Nicholas Mackey on Friday, 24 May 2024 12:53

Thank you, Stephen for your generous comment.

For your information, the picture on the front cover is a photo I took when visiting the ancient city of Dara. It's located in the south-east of Turkey in Mardin Province about 6 km (= 3.73 miles) from the border with Syria. This amazing archaeological site dates from the early 6th century CE and served as an eastern outpost of the Roman/Byzantine Empire close to their ancient rivals, the Sassanids.

Thank you, Stephen for your generous comment. For your information, the picture on the front cover is a photo I took when visiting the ancient city of Dara. It's located in the south-east of Turkey in Mardin Province about 6 km (= 3.73 miles) from the border with Syria. This amazing archaeological site dates from the early 6th century CE and served as an eastern outpost of the Roman/Byzantine Empire close to their ancient rivals, the Sassanids.
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