I missed the Sydney launch of my first book. I had pneumonia, and I couldn’t lift my head off the pillow. My pillow was in Woodend, Australia.
But what I’m eternally grateful for is that Brodee Myers-Cooke – the then editor of the garden section of Better Homes and Gardens – organised for the launch to be videoed, and got hold of a copy of the book, and had a heap of the attendees sign it, with messages of support, love and encouragement.
But then that copy went missing.
Three years after publication, the ABC requested that I record Michael McCoy’s Garden as an audiobook, so I spent a few days in a voice-over booth, reading it, with several copies open in front of me, so as to not have to audibly turn the pages. I left one or two copies with the audio-technician – a really good friend of mine – for reference, and must have forgotten to retrieve them before packing up all our belongings and heading overseas for a year.
It must have been about five years later than I realised that my precious, multiply-signed copy was missing, and after some head-scratching, thought that it was possibly amongst the copies I’d left with the technician. I contacted her, and she claimed that she neither had it, nor had ever had it.
At least another five years later, I was really mourning the loss of the book, thinking that it was probably sitting in the book shelf of someone for whom it was entirely meaningless. Then, apropos of nothing, a nephew of mine showed me a YouTube clip about people who’d prayed for the return of precious lost items. In that moment, I was filled with belief, and simply prayed ‘I want my book back!’
This occurred just days before leading an OS garden tour, so I was thoroughly distracted for several weeks, but not long after getting back, I received an email from someone in Tasmania.
It said something like this
‘The strangest thing just happened. My daughter and I decided that we were going to overhaul a part of our garden, so dragged our two garden books off the bookshelf for reference, one of which was Michael McCoy’s Garden. The front two pages had always been stuck together, and such is the inquisitiveness of my ten year old, that she had to try and peel them apart. When she did, we found that those pages were covered in signatures and messages to you! It was clear that it was of much greater value to you than to us, so if you send me your postal address, I’ll send it back to you.’
The emailer was herself an author, and threw in one of her books, as a bonus. Turns out the audio technician had given it to her, years and years before. Of course, I sent a new, fresh copy of Michael McCoy’s Garden back to her.
But how about that?
Michael McCoy’s Garden is still available from me, at $29-95 + p&h. Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested. I also read it onto YouTube as a lockdown project this year. You can watch those videos at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2Zn-YfUhCsPPFIIFXwLHal7hDgxw-8Hr