After several weeks off for the holidays, I am establishing my goals for the year 2011. These are not resolutions, those are far too easy to break or forget about sometime around the first of May. The goals that I wish to identify involve writing and getting the written word distributed to as many people as possible. I truly believe that our culture is enlivened through writing, bringing the past into focus, exploring the myriad of possibilities and eventually guiding the development of the future. Fiction or not, reality or fantasy, all written works stir imagination and thought.

With that in mind, I am embarking the recording of my first full length novel, now a full year old and no longer being edited. I should have that effort completed by spring. I am going to complete my second novel by the end of summer. I will participate again in the National Novel Writing Month in November. These are three very ambitious goals for one year. I hope that all of the aspiring writers out there establish similar challenging goals.

In addition to my own personal work, I have the opportunity to assist in the distribution of a pair of existing books. The chance to review and offer judgment on another author’s works is both exhilarating and daunting. The books that I am referring to were written by Brett Garrett. They are studies of the Celtic knots carved into crosses and other stone in the British Isles. Both of these books are available for sale as hard copy books at the Hyrax Publications store  under the printed books section (you can always access the store via the tab in the navigation menu).

The first volume, Celtic Knots: Exploring with J Romilly Allen, Method and Matrix, explores the stones and crosses in Wales. Brett systematically models the various knots, to validate and compare them. There are several designs that are repeated across many stones while others are unique. The models expose the fact that the knots are not a single thread, but can be two, three or even more. Additionally, all of the knots can be ‘tied’ using cordage, suggesting that the stone renditions are a more durable representation of knotting practiced on an every day basis.

This volume is beautifully annotated with color graphics and pictures taken by the author. It was originally published in 2007 and has only a limited number of copies available.

The second volume, Celtic Knots with & beyond J Romilly Allen, contains all of the technical information of the first volume expanded to include stone work from Scotland, Ireland and England. The additional works re-emphasize the original premise and provide additional beautiful examples of the art of Celtic knotting.

This volume is printed in a larger format and is in shades of grey (keeping the cost down). More models and more photographs fill the additional space. Both works take the study of these stone artifacts beyond the conclusions of the 1950s. The reality of the stones is explored separate from modern mysticism, allowing the systematic discovery of the purpose and meaning of the knots and possibly bringing us closer to the people who carved them.

Since Knotting is a highly visual art, an audio version of the books does not seem feasible for now, however, Brett will be making her models and various knot work available in electronic format in the near future.

[Kosmo’s note: This is the first time Hyrax Publications will be involved in the sale of printed books, although the store has offered eBooks (fiction and non-fiction) and audio books for quite some time.  At some point in the future, we may work with other authors who are seeking a place to sell their books.  While Brett Garrett’s books can be found other places on the internet, I think you’ll find our prices quite competitive.  A glance at Amazon finds Celtic Knots: Exploring with J Romilly Allen, Method and Matrix priced at $104.44 for a new copy and $49.50 for a used copy this morning … compare that the the $29.98 cost at our store.]

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Martin writes about writing in his weekly column Ramblings from Martin.

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