A fortnight ago the publisher David Lovell died. Six weeks earlier, on a late Sunday afternoon, David and his wife Phillippa had hosted a gathering to launch my book, A Gentle Unfolding – Circling and Spiralling into Meaning. David was the publisher, editor and proofreader.
It’s not easy to find a publisher when you are an unknown and writing a memoir kind of book, something that slides between religion and spirituality. I was aware that David Lovell Publishing (DLP) published books on spirituality and wider Catholicism-related social issues. Then in 2014 I was surprised to receive an email from him:
Dear Judith. Michael Mullins passed on some info re your Tarella website, which is beautiful – congratulations. Then I saw your piece in the latest Good Oil. One of the hats I wear is as associate editor of Madonna magazine and I am writing to see if we might include that piece in our next issue. We have had a series running called ‘Why I love the church’ and while your article is not quite on that topic it fits quite well. I noted your role as a writer for Let’s Go Together. I was part of the group who gathered in the early 1970s with Gary Eastman, who created the template for LGT, to begin Dove Communications. A nice connection.
That piece, titled My God Dream, was published in Madonna. A year later, I took a deep breath and wrote to David.
Dear David, Last year you published my piece about Vocation in the Madonna. in the intervening twelve months I have been mulling over what I wrote, aware that it was taking me further but not sure where or how. Then in June this year I attended the Catholic Communications Congress and was delighted to see that grey heads like myself were the exception in the gathering and that young, enthusiastic women and men, but particularly women, had picked up whatever baton it was that people like myself had carried for years, and were running with it.
It led me to reflect on the fact that I am one of the thousands who left religious life after V2, taking the formation and education we had received and then giving it a breadth and focus that was new. Those years were unique and later generations will look back and analyse their importance and the effect it had on the way women and men minister. I would like to write my experience of those years, putting it in a framework of the many events, movements and changes that have coloured the last 50 years. I have begun to research this background material in relation to the way I lived out my vocation and am seeing connections that I had not suspected before.
Would material like this be something that your publishing house might be interested in? I would appreciate your comment or maybe a chance to talk with you and expand my ‘vision’.
We did meet, David was encouraging, I wrote the book, David published it – and now he is gone.
Publishing was more than a business for him and I don’t suppose it made him a rich man. The books he chose to publish reflected the Vatican 2 values he lived by, words that nurtured our spirits and gave a voice to people like me, women and men who had something to say, looking for somewhere to say it. We found it in David’s warmth and editing skill.
Thank you David. May you rest in peace