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Counting down to 'Belonging Street'.

Has it gone to the printer yet? I can almost smell the ink! My new collection of poetry for children, 'Belonging Street' is due out any day now... and I can not wait to open it up for the first time. For the last six months it has been in the capable hands of Otter Barry Books (puzzling over dyslexic spelling, thanks, Janetta) and working wonders with design and layout (thanks, Ari). Any day now it will find its way to where it really belongs... in the hands of young readers.

How exactly that is to happen in these, upside-down-no-live-events, is something many authors and publishers are creatively working on. And, as where there's a will, there's a way, Otter Barry's YouTube channel is an excellent way to get the words off the page.

In addition to reading some poems, if I clip my phone to a reading lamp I might even be able to video how I did the illustrations. So far that phone has been sellotaped, blue-tacked and propped up on a docker's trolley (all very high tech here). But who isn't on a steep learning curve these days? No time to be daunted by technology, old or new.

Once, on a course to retrain in digital print, I remember us unruly trainees, turning instead to dust off and get running a vintage Heidelberg press. My fellow printers were newly laid-off Bemrose workers (the last of the mass-gravure print-runs). Those kindly genius artisans each had a lifetime's worth of skill; and the war-wound to show for it. I recall one printer holding a page up to the light to explain pagination and 'rivers' for the first time I noticed a bit of his finger was missing... surreptitiously looking round, I realised they all did!

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