The British Museum’s Missing Exhibit

Here are a couple of photographs of the infamous Tan Hill Inn Mobile Phone Pickle Jar I took a couple of years ago. Folklore has it in the 1990s the landlady became so fed up with the number of her patrons staring silently at texts and emails she introduced a severe but obvious deterrent…shall we say.

Yes I know we all love social media, watching our favourite vloggers, whirring around our device from texts to emails, ridiculous google searches, games with no conclusions, app tapping, etc. People are becoming more aware about how damaging this activity can become, as it moves towards unfettered dopamine release, are inability to concentrate, focus on anything, continually distracted, never fully present, stress, forgetfulness….and….ah I can’t remember….sorry, did I say something?

The exciting chaos of Christmas will soon be upon us, yet a month from today and it will be all over. So I urge anyone who should stumble across this short blog post, to turn their phones off and fully tune in to the present.

Pop into Paperchase, Cards Galore, or Clintons Cards and purchase some beautiful cards or if you have time make some of your own. Put some time a side to consider friends, family, work colleagues, clients, patrons or customers who have supported you in recent months or for many years.

Avoid sending multiple Happy Christmas texts, to people you have never met, worked with or even know. Phone people, take some time to slow down, go down a gear and catch up.

On January 1st 2019 I have a New Years Resolution, though my mobile isn’t quite ready for the pickle jar just yet, but its important to spot addiction and the invisible isolation it brings with it when it comes.

As for the British Museum, you are missing one of Yorkshire’s most remote and hidden treasures from your collection.


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Death of a Mentor

Earlier this year my mentor John Naylor sadly died.

I first met John nearly twenty years ago, though he only started to mentor me in my late thirties. Everyone has a different view of mentors, often they are there to listen…and sometimes there to be listened to. They can be there at the start of your professional, business or creative journey and much appreciated along the way.

John was a very special person. In a chance conversation over a decade ago I mentioned I was writing a book and considering seeking a publisher He immediately offered to take a look at the 30,000 words I had been labouring over at the time. I posted the manuscript to him and a couple of days later he phoned and said how absolutely marvellous everything was, but would I mind…if here and there…he inserted the odd capital letter, comma, made the occasional tiny grammatical tweak. ‘Sure’ I said, already imagining vast quantities of royalties pouring in, the vision was all there, splashing out on a yacht, purchasing a glass fronted luxury apartment, exotic holidays, etc.

A week later, the two inch thick manuscript thudded on to my doormat, accompanied by a seven page letter from John. On the manuscript itself, which was about version 15, over every page, and I mean every page, up the margins, on the headers, footers, sometimes on the backs of pages was John’s distinctive red spidery longhand.

A section of an early 250 page manuscript showing John’s annotations

In his own unique beautiful, warm, sensitive, and graceful manner he had conveyed, without the need for any harsh criticism or even directly having to tell me anything at all that – this was a load of rubbish and I would never get it published.

My experience of the various meetings with John over the years, was an invisible form of not only mentoring¬†but guidance. He would say of writing, ‘Read it, read it out loud, read it again, think about it, rest it, put it in a draw, then revise it, rewrite it, and keep going…’ He possessed the art of getting people to realise something for themselves, and lightly blew them in the right direction. His support over a number of years meant, I was eventually able to write, and went on to secure several commissions from major publishers.

Life can be full of unexpected experiences, some good and others which are frankly awful.  Our lives can change quite suddenly, a mentor can often help you cope with the ups and downs of an enterprise, career or life. One thing John did convey to me, when interacting with everyone, is the importance of thoughtfulness, conveying respect and above all kindness. Without John I would not have learned such valuable lessons.

So John, a fond farewell. I miss you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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