Professional writer and press manager

A storyteller’s tale of a year in business

Buena’ dia’, whistled the man through his gapped teeth and ratty moustache. The plastic bottle of aguardiente ensconced in his dirty jacket hung as a Christmas decoration from his bailer twine. He took advantage of the first available space to nestle his head into the bristly seat cover. I studied his face. A face you could climb up; its crags and boulders mimicking the Andes; rising in the surrounding pueblos. His left eye was a pastiche of the lake at Cotopaxi – minus the perpetual rainbow thrown into the sky. Outside the rain tapping on the leaves applauded in the last month of the year. Its gentle beat was the quietest sound as November departed. The road from Quito to the jungle is long and winding.

 

Deciding to spend my holiday this year working on cacao farms in Ecuador; the days involved trekking through muddy paths, wielding a machete and learning permaculture; evenings marvelling at the combined sounds of a bassy frog, honking goose and cascade of cicadas. The rhythm of a rainforest rave like nothing I’d ever slept through before, it became a prize, a comfort at the end of a long day.

with an incredible content of antioxidants real bean chocolate is having a resurgence

Bespoke bars come from aerated beans

Waking up to the sounds of a rainforest couldn’t feel much further from the skreigh of gulls ripping bins apart on my backstreet doorstep in Falmouth. Further again from the swollen black sky of Tokyo where I was living a few Decembers ago. Having chosen hummingbirds to decorate my website and associated social media pages, it seemed serendipitous that the end of my first full year as a fledgling business I should be surrounded by them; their call part of the soundtrack to my day.

Having started 2014 reproached by my failure to teach full time, I ended it by returning to several things I love: Ecuador, volunteering and (yes) chocolate. Not entirely unrelated to the work I’ve been doing with Cornwall’s only bean to bar chocolate producer, Also I am looking for social responsibility projects to support as part of my long term vision for the business.

What I expected to learn and what I eventually have; like the best laid plans of mice, men, hummingbirds and writers – well, went astray. But it did provide me the space to take a look at the future of Palaver Maven and what I want to happen next. From the fantastic work with  sustainable seaweed harvesters The Cornish Seaweed Company and their propulsion into mainstream media, to the attention The Chocolarder has received from luxury magazines and food blogs; it’s been an amazing year. My small business has made connections to big press on behalf of small businesses, and

I’ve been blown away by meeting each and every person who has dropped their job in order to live the dream.

Recently having started writing adventure stories for Sharing Socks, I feel happy to combine my love for adventure with social projects; particularly those surrounding education and equality. As 2015 beckons, presenting with it the option for expansion, I’m excited to be offering the opportunity to help young people in Cornwall find an in-road to media careers.

with a love of words as obvious as my own, Thomas is a hero

A Child’s Christmas in Wales: Dylan Thomas’ inspiring poem

So as December arrives, we’ve got tasting menus to try around Cornwall, and exciting events such as returning to the rainforest here in Cornwall to tend to, it’s a great time to be in Cornwall. And it’s an even better time to be a business in Cornwall.

From brand relationships, case studies, press campaigns and white papers to newsletters, website copy and regular content, have a browse around the site and let me know if there’s something you think I can do for you.

Great design needs great content

Brand Publishing: Are you content with what’s underneath?

A brightly burnished, branded website is exciting for us all. Especially ones with fashionable, hand drawn graphics incorporating sharp branding. Clever colour schemes to match memorable images and sear logos to our ever-exposed brains.

What’s going on though, when you start scratching that shiny veneer?

Many brands are pouring their business investment expenditure into revamping the aesthetics of their websites to lure in prospects like bees to conical celled flowers. Rightly so. A stunning website is vital to attracting clients.

But what keeps them there, and beckons their return is what’s underneath: the website content. Great content at that.

A land of contrasts

When visiting Iceland during February earlier in the year, I discovered the amazing story of the poetry that migrated to Iceland during the Second World War. Having long been a fan of Icelandic music – its darkness, duality, longing, and the way it so aptly mimics the scenery –  the story of the seafarers sent to fight on a sprawling mass of magma, in the North Sea, fascinated me.

After losing over 200 Icelanders during the war, the women were enveloped by the desolate poetry brought over by British troops. The drab and terrifying words of such authors as Siegfried Sassoon and his protégé Wilfred Owen lulled Icelandic women to whisper ég elska þú into the luminescent skies. Elska means to love. Despite finding the bleak scenery and volcanic landscape inhospitable, the men found female hands at cannery row were liberal with their love.

Trading primarily in fish sourced in from the icy seas, cannery women would give up their love under endless skies. Winter everywhere: within the frozen igneous rock containing tiny worlds, on the twisted branches grabbing at the sky, inter-crossing each other with the same complexity as a modern bus map; the men found the landscape portentous.

When birds look into houses, what impossible worlds they see

Yet, as Nabokov said “You can get nearer and nearer to reality; but you can never get near enough, because reality is an infinite succession of steps, levels of perception, false bottoms, and hence unquenchable, unattainable”, the molten lava burning beneath the curvatures of land and surging to the surface would fashion new topography.

How does this relate to content?

carved from high quality basalt content

Mirroring the basalt columns of Iceland’s geography

It’s about what’s underneath; how that feeds into what’s on the surface. As the winter sun sinks over the bay, Hallgrímskirkja, a modern church that resembles an organ with its stepped sides reaching up to a pinnacle, stands overseeing Borgartúni. Carved from glassy basalt; forged from rapid cooling magma, this modern landmark is a metaphor for choosing high quality content.

Its unique figure quietly disrupts the mountainous backdrop and contradicts the sharp frozen air, belying something of what’s going on under the surface. Rolling beneath the frozen fields seethes the spark of fire.

This fire embodies what clients want from content. Something unusual, something different and something that changes their view. Answer their problems, enrich their lives and ultimately create content of value and you will see return.

To speak to me today about breathing fire into your content, however big or small, please call me on 07729263818 or use my contact form.

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