AT LAST I HONOUR MY LOVE OF THE WRITTEN WORD WITH A NEW BOOK PROJECT IN WHICH I DON'T HAVE TO WRITE A SINGLE ONE.
For as long as I can remember I always wanted to be a writer.
Actually, no, before that I wanted to work in a NY sky scraper and carry a silver briefcase. I grew up on a lot of 80s business comedies.
Now that I think of it, I have vivid childhood memories of going on walks at night, holding an Eveready Dolphin torch to my eyeball like a handicam and "filming" wild-eyed possums right in the face with the blazing torch beam.
Regardless, sometime before I realised directing was the dream I was born for, I wanted to be a writer. I just happened to love making images that moved more.
A week or two ago, a close friend dropped an offhand comment about how I should turn my attentions to writing again. A week or so before that I'd had a long conversation with my Mum about adding more strings to my quiver (or whatever it is you archers do to be more effective).
Subtly, without warning, a small switch inside shifted and I knew it was time to begin what I'd always wanted to do: write a book.
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Earlier this week I launched a new project called Touch: A Picture Book For Adults. And it's all written by you.
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In fact, I started two. The first is still under wraps, but in brief: it's a children's adventure book, piped through my love of Amblin films, into a story young'uns can get their parents to read when they're not watching said parents' dog eared copy of ET. But that's another story.
The big one — and what brings me here — is that earlier this week I launched a new project called Touch: A Picture Book For Adults. And it won't have me writing a word. It's all written by you.
I love contemporary illustration. Anyone who's been staring at my computer screen long enough to see my exhaustive film fan art collection screensave into being can testify (namely: me).
I also have a thing for words and pictures to undo our controls and inspire our desires.
An erotic picture book for grown ups, then. Sounds saucy. But how to make a book that won't disappear into the ever diminishing sea of malnourished hardcopy publications or turn off those with a more... cultured taste?
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Touch is a response to what I read in my social network feeds daily: our modern society believes it's lacking in meaningful connections.
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I'd like to say there was a genesis moment when the idea for the book struck me like a bolt out of the blue, but I don't have a memory of that point at all — and really, when do bolts ever strike anytime other than during a cloudy, stormy day? So I blame the clouds.
Touch: A Picture Book For Adults (working title) is a response to what I read in my social network feeds daily: our modern society, amid the status updates and shares, believes it's lacking in meaningful connections. It's making films about it, switching off accounts, bemoaning our disconnect. Whether you agree or not, plenty of people are feeling it.
Touch is also in response to what I've witnessed personally and through others: we are absolute suckers for a good, knowing set of hands.
A sample of work from our growing Pinterest Feed. Feel free to follow or suggest pins!
Gathering testimonials from touchers and touchees around the globe, paired with unfiltered responses from some of our best artists and illustrators, Touch is a sprawling, sensual and evocative tome inspired by real connections, to inspire real connections. It'll also look rather lovely sitting on your coffee table when you invite the grandparents round for Sunday tea.
It feels like one of those eureka moments, without the eureka moment. I just know with a comfortable conviction it's something many of us will value, share and celebrate. A rich, varied and luscious ode to something so many adore — and perhaps an entrancing, inspiring guide for those who don't quite yet.
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Help shape the discussion around one of the most intimate ways to connect and what it means for the more impersonal ways we do.
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If this inspires you to want to know more, head to the website, take the survey, add your words to those already coming in (one of my favourites so far: "I like to be grabbed and held like I'm a precious thing to protect". Sound familiar?). Help shape the discussion around one of the most intimate, primitive ways to connect and what it means for the newer, perhaps impersonal ways we do.
Allow me to make a book with your help; one where I don't have to write a single word.
Actually, there are two I know I will write, lots: thank you.