Just about exactly 10 years ago now, I was down in North Devon for the readings and prize-givings for the Plough Prize, in which I'd won the open category.
While there I met the judge, Helena Nelson, and she explained that she had just started a new chapbook press, HappenStance, from her home in Fife. She'd tested the water with a chapbook of her own 'Unsuitable Poems', and followed it up with Andrew Philip's wonderful Tonguefire (if you can find a copy of this anywhere, I recommend it very highly).
To my surprise, she asked me to send her every poem I had, with a view to publishing a pamphlet. At the time, I think I only had 30-35 that I thought of as finished in any way, but over the next few months, Nell and I worked away at them, and the end result was my chapbook Making The Most Of The Light, which was launched in Edinburgh in October 2005.
HappenStance is celebrating its 10th birthday this week, having moved on to publishing full collections by the likes of DA Prince as well as chapbooks, and even a quick look at their website will reveal the calibre of poets they've worked with over the last decade.
So, I just wanted to say a big Happy Birthday to it, and a huge thank-you to Nell for taking a chance on publishing my poetry. I'm proud, and above all very grateful, to have been associated with such a wonderful press.
NOTE: I do still have two copies of Making The Most Of The Light left - none of the poems in it have appeared in my subsequent collections. Email me if you're interested in receiving one.